The legndary
Paul Bacon



When my editors at Simon and Schuster showed me the cover design for The Hungarian Game, I was euphoric. Still, I didn't realize that this was the work of a living legend.
Paul Bacon had designed covers for Ernest Hemingway, Eric Ambler, Nobel-Prize winner William Golding, Norman Mailer, Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, E.L. Doctorow, Phillip Roth—all the best authors from the 60s on.
It was Paul who invented the idea of bold, classy covers that helped vault sometimes indifferent books into best-sellerdom. He created a unique school of graphic design in publishing.
I was delighted with his cover for Hungarian, . But I had no idea that getting a Paul Bacon cover for my book was like getting Rembrandt to paint my portrait. Only later did I learn how very lucky I'd been that Simon and Schuster had budgeted Paul to create this cover for me—a completely unknown first-time novelist.

Saul Bass is gone, alas. And Herb Lubalin. Paul Rand. So many other giants of that era. But Paul Bacon is still with us—a national treasure.
Paul—now in his 80s—is still illustrating and designing.
And singing in a New York jazz club.


Though I'm unsure of the actual number, I believe that Paul Bacon designed around 2,000 record covers for Riverside and Blue Note in the 1950s before he turned to book jackets.
In the words of the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Art), "In the late 1950;s Bacon invented the bestseller book jacket, as we know it. Catch-22, Portnoy's Complaint, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest—his jackets are bold, resolutely commercial, and genre-defining."
Paul designed over 7,000 book jackets. Besides the above mentioned, he created covers for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Taylor Caldwell's Great Lion of God, Robin Cook's Coma, Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain.
And books by Margaret Atwood, Louis Auchicloss, Noel Behn, Paul Bowles, Robert Caro, John Cheever, James Clavell, Harry Crews, E. L. Doctorow, Frederick Forsyth, Arthur Hailey, Jack Higgins, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Henry Kissinger, Ira Levin, Meyer Levin, Robert Ludlum, Norman Mailer, Ed McBain, S. J. Perelman, Mario Puzo, Georges Simenon, William Styron, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Wambaugh––the list is almost endless.
To present even a trunkated catalogue of them would take up this website and more.

© 2005-2009 Roy Hayes