Bond By Design: The Art of the James Bond Films (2015) – Meg Simmons

I got into the 007 films fairly late, I was 11 going 12 and living in Bermuda, when we finally got a VCR and I was able to explore the world of Ian Fleming. Before we lived there, I had purchased a Bond book by John Gardner to read on our annual trip out east to visit with my parent’s parents. When my Dad saw it, he said it wasn’t suitable for me (the first and only time he’s ever said that about any book I’ve ever chosen to read) and told me to take it back (but that’s another story).

As such I was introduced to the adventures of James Bond as portrayed by Sean Connery, Roger Moore and George Lazenby all in one go – Saturday night would be video night, and my sister and I would usually come home with 2 or 3 movies each from Vision Video – now long gone.

So I was introduced to the exotic art and larger than life production design that populated the world of 007. I saw examples of the work of Sir Ken Adams, Syd Cain, Peter Murton and Peter Lamont. And as the years passed, Allan Cameron and Dennis Gassner joined the fold.

While all the Bond films may not be strong cinema fare, they have always looked fantastic, inviting us into a world that is a grandiose interpretation of the time the film was made.


And thanks to the good people at DK Books, all of that art, the creation and the design are at the tips of my fingers with Bond by Design. Taking us through all the films, hinting gently at Spectre, we get a look at some of the gadgets, the vehicles, the sets as well as the layout and planning for shots in the form of storyboards. Broken down by movie, we travel through all the films and the decades, seeing the changes in the times, and the influences they have on Ian Fleming’s cinematic world.

Filled with exemplary pencil and paint work, Bond by Design affords a unique look into the history of the franchise, collecting images and designs (some of which were there merely to detail out the scene, while others framed iconic set pieces) that helped bring this long-standing series to life.

From Dr. No’s lair to the Aston Martin DB5. From Solitaire’s tarot cards, to Carver’s stealth vessel. It’s a fascinating piece of visual history that should be a touchstone for art and production designers and a welcome addition to any Ian Fleming fan’s book shelf.

DK books has been given their license to kill with this book, and they do! It’s a top-notch, beautifully filled book that would make Q proud, look great in M’s office, and probably save 007’s life.

Check it out.



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