Havinden was a painter, typographer, graphic and textile designer. In 1922, when he joined W.S. Crawford – one of London’s largest advertising agencies – he had not received any formal art training. He subsequently took evening classes in design and drawing at Central School of Arts & Crafts (1922-23) and received private drawing lessons from Henry Moore in 1933. The London Gallery held Havinden’s first solo exhibition in 1937. Two years later he was one of the nine British artists to feature in an exhibition of abstract paintings held at the Lefevre Gallery. He remained with W.S. Crawford for forty-five years becoming art director in 1929 and vice-chairman in 1960. During this time, Havinden was given full freedom to develop his distinctive style, working on campaigns for Martini, Liberty’s, Chrysler, amongst others. Meanwhile, he produced rug and textile designs for Duncan Miller Ltd and Edinburgh Weavers. For the V&A’s 1946 exhibition Britain Can Make It, he designed the Men’s Wear displays, as well as the exhibition catalogue cover. Havinden received an OBE for his services to British Design in 1951. He was the subject of a major exhibition, Advertising the Artist:: he Work and Collection of Ashley Havinden’, at the National Galleries of Scotland in 2003.