He was born in 1930 in Plymouth to John Charles Hawkey (RAF WW1) and Constance Olive (née Steckhahn) Hawkey.
Hawkey achieved a National Diploma in Design at the (then) Plymouth School of Art and was awarded a scholarship in 1950 to study at the Royal College of Art where he became a notable art director of the RCA's ARK magazine (now known as ARC), where he allegedly "outraged the rector Robin Darwin by introducing illustration and photography to ARK's covers".
He was one of the founders of the Association of Graphic Designers in 1959
While an RCA student Hawkey helped the picture editor of the Sunday Graphic and won a design talent competition organised by Vogue magazine. He was recruited by Vogue's publishers Condé Nast where he worked for "three happy years."
In 1959 he became design director of the Daily Express where he and Michael Rand revitalised the use of illustration as a key adjunct to stories. Design Journal said "their countdown description of a passenger plane ditching in mid-Atlantic is still  fresh and moving; since there were, understandably, no cameramen at the scene of the crash, none of the other newspapers illustrated what it was like for the passengers" and that "[they] ... set a style which is still  recognisable as the root of the best current work".
Hawkey was appointed presentation director of The Observer in 1964 and led the design of its colour magazine. In July 1986 he was co-designer (with Tony Mullins) of the first dummy of The Independent, but it is not clear how much of his contribution survived the painful cycles of redesign before the launch
Other graphic design
During his time at the Royal College of Art Hawkey first encountered Len Deighton when Deighton (another RCA scholarship student at that time) gatecrashed a literary party that Hawkey was helping to organise. Instead of ejecting the intruder, Hawkey found much in common with him and they became "lifelong friends" (Dempsey, ibid).
In 1962, Hawkey was Deighton's choice to design the cover of his first novel The IPCRESS File, which some regard as the template for the covers of all subsequent airport novels. He went on to design covers for Deighton's books, including Horse Under Water, Funeral in Berlin and The Action Cookbook (where the IPCRESS revolver reappears, this time with a sprig of parsley in the barrel).
Hawkey designed covers for works by many other authors, including the Pan paperback editions of James Bond published from 1963-1969, which the Financial Times described  as having "a stark elegance... consistently menacing and memorable. Each has a single photographic image on a plain or textured background. Blurb is dispensed with. It's the visual equivalent of a cruel, sardonic smile." A key element was Hawkey's bold use of lettering- the sans-serif James Bond wording is far larger than the book title or the author's name.
Books by Raymond Hawkey
Hawkey wrote four thrillers:
- Wild Card (with Roger Bingham) (1974)
- Side-Effect (1979)
- it (1983)
- End Stage (1988)
Hawkey also wrote and co-designed a 3D animated pop-up book Evolution: The Story of the Origins of Humankind, published by Putnam in 1987.
- Johnstone, Amelia; Lucas, Tom (Spring 2004). "The History of ARK/ARC". ARC. Retrieved 2007-12-06.[dead link]
- Dempsey, Mike (2001-12-14). "Immaculate conception". Design Week. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009 (on Dempsey's blog). Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- Poynor, Rick; Crowley, David (2004). Communicate!: Independent British Graphic Design Since the Sixties. Laurence King Publishing (published October 2004). ISBN 1-85669-422-4.
- "Comment - Graphic accidents". Design Journal 1970. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
- Robert Waterhouse. "News that's fit to draw". Design Journal 1974. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- Garland, Nicholas (1990). Not Many Dead. Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-174449-0.
- Naughton, John. "Dear Diary: a review of Nick Garland's account of the Independent's early days". Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- Dyckhoff, Tom (15 September 2001). "They've got it covered". Guardian web edition (London, published 2001-09-15). Retrieved 2007-12-06.
- Cover images of the Action Cookbook can be found at http://acejet170.typepad.com/foundthings/2006/10/action_cookbook.html (accessed 2007-12-08)
- James Lovegrove (8 March 2008). "Book Covers: Thunderball". Financial Times. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "Oh! What a lovely war (1969)". Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
- "Oh! What a lovely war (1969) - Full cast and crew". IMDb. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
- Mike Dempsey's 2001 article is the source for some biographical material not otherwise credited in this article.
- Thumbnail images from the title sequence of Oh! What a lovely war are reproduced on page 101 of Poynor & Crowley's book and can be viewed using the Read Inside feature for this book on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com (accessed 2007-12-08).