Adam Hay

Adam Hay – Designer

I am a book designer with over 39 years experience collaborating with authors to produce intelligent, creative solutions.


I’ve designed and illustrated books and book covers for large clients in fiction, non-fiction, literary fiction, arts, architecture, photography, business, government, economics, music and music education, but have tackled projects in many sectors over a long career in design for publishing. I believe a book’s style and functionality comes only through careful assessment of content with authors and production staff. Simple. Hands on. Content lead. When the organisation of a strong grid structure and application of highly detailed typography follows the result can only be a more creative, coherent product for readers.

An early career in magazine publishing built strong skills in art direction of photography and commissioning of illustration. I also work as an illustrator, painter and photographer. I utilise a small in-house photography studio. Major clients include: Thames and Hudson, Phaidon Press, Faber & Faber Music, ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), Schott Music GmbH, The Music Sales Group, The Edition Peters Group (Leipzig and London), BBC World Service, The Independent, The Times Educational Supplement, Wordsearch (architecture and design), Euromoney, The Architectural Press, Greenpeace, ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and many, many more.

I do not use generative AI in any of my designs.

Art Biographies & Memoirs Entertainment Music
Dystopian Literary Fiction Mystery & Crime Thriller & Suspense

Work experience


Aug, 1993 — Present

I specialise in design for publishing, concentrating on book covers and illustrated books, whilst continuing to work in most areas of print design. I work for many major London publishing houses and for several in Germany and, thanks to Reedsy, I now have a number of regular clients in the US. I approach each project afresh wishing content to lead the design process. I prefer to keep a close working relationship with writers, authors and editors as this tends to produce the most intelligent, appropriate design solutions. Please visit the studio’s website for greater detail of recent output. A small selection of work is also on display below.

Graphic Design: A Concise History

Jul, 1993 — Jan, 1994 (6 months)

I was invited by Richard Hollis– one of the most influential figures in British graphic design who has worked as a printer, magazine editor, print-production manager, writer, teacher and a graphic designer – to work on his best-selling book Graphic Design: A Concise History, part of Thames and Hudson’s World of Art series. The book was put together sitting with Richard at his home studio. Images were embedded in the text following what Richard had done in John Berger’s book Ways of Seeing.

Pearce Marchbank, Studio Twenty

Aug, 1991 — Aug, 1993 (about 2 years)

This was actually the start of my freelance career. Pearce Marchbank, RDI, offered desk space at his Islington studio – which relocated to The Archer Street Studios in Soho and changed its name to Studio Twenty – in order that I provide desktop publishing, (new at the time) leaving me the chance to continue building my own client base. Pearce’s output is prodigious. I art-worked Music Sales books, catalogues, broadsheet newspaper redesigns and material for the wine merchant John Armit. Being around such an influential designer as Pearce afforded me an ultimate opportunity. I began to work in book publishing and soon started my own studio.

Burnett Associates

Jul, 1990 — Aug, 1991 (about 1 year)

I designed annual reports, logos, marketing campaigns and a magazine for the RSPCA, among many other projects. Accounts: Greenpeace, ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), RPSCA, National Asthma Campaign and the National Schizophrenia Fellowship.

Redwood Publishing

Jun, 1989 — Jul, 1990 (about 1 year)

Intercity Magazine. Hired by Paul Harpin. I re-designed the title and art directed it. I brought in the first Apple Mac to Redwood’s design dept., then situated at Old Street. I also worked on several special advertising supplements for TimeInc., London


May, 1988 — Jun, 1989 (about 1 year)

Now a worldwide company I art directed for Wordseach, the original publishers of Blueprint and Eye Magazines, at the Cramer Street building in Marylebone.

The Architectural Press

Jan, 1987 — May, 1988 (over 1 year)

I was hired as assistant art editor for The Architect’s Journal, known affectionately as the AJ, by Simon Esterson, who had just re-designed the magazine and was still overseeing it at the time

CW Communications

Jan, 1986 — Jun, 1987 (over 1 year)

I was responsible for art editing Computer News, a weekly broadsheet, and ICL’s flagship monthly ICL Today.

Haymarket Publishing

Jan, 1985 — May, 1986 (over 1 year)

I was hired by Art Director Roland Schenk. Management Today Magazine. Campaign Magazine.

Adam has 136 reviews





Aura Shira M.

Aura Shira M.

Jun, 2024

I have worked with Adam before and he really is the first person I will turn to for anything regarding the cover and print of my book book. I just needed a minor addition to the cover and he did it quickly and obviously very professionally - he is an easy person to work with and I will definitely turn to him again for any future projects.


Jun, 2024

Adam listens to your ideas and makes suggestions then gives you several different ways to put across the book. This is the third time I have worked with Adam and have always been pleased.
T.H. M.

T.H. M.

Jun, 2024

Good job.
Azita P.

Azita P.

Jun, 2024

It's been such a pleasure woking with Adam. He is incredibly talented, efficient and patient with all our requests. His keen eye and design skills elevated our book.
Anette S.

Anette S.

May, 2024

Thank you, Adam, for your great, professional service! All it took were a few quotes from my book and a bit of background story, and there it was: the first draft, capturing precisely the right atmosphere. I was excited to see how you had translated the book's mood into a beautiful image. To make it more authentic, you even drove out to take the right shot and integrated that scene into my bo...
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