The second version of the series began publication around 1969 and it changed the whole design into what most think is the ugliest of all the versions. They sold in the $1.50 to $3.50 range over the course of their publication.
The design is considered by most as the ugliest of the six. The colors used were bright, neon purples, oranges, greens, browns, reds, yellows, pinks and blues were used that hurt the eyes when looked at. The book was bordered in one bright colour and then another bright colour was used inside.
The Front Cover
The front cover had three rectangular sections inside a coloured border, the top prints a quote from a famous critic or publication about the author, the middle section tells us the author and title, and the lower shows us an abstract design in a black background. Inside the coloured border at the top is the book’s series number.
The Back Cover
The back cover is one solid colour inside its border with the series information, publisher’s name, price and reprint number at the top. Below is an image of the author and at the bottom is the book’s synopsis. Below the synopsis is the name of the writer who gives the introduction to the book. There is a variation in Series Two which instead of using an image of the author, it copies the design of the front cover. See A Variation in Series Two for more details. Also, some books, if the publishers have no image of the author, fill the extra space with an expanded synopsis of the book.
The spine shows us the author name (top), book title (middle), series number (bottom) and the NC logo (middle between author and title). The lettering is sideways, turned clockwise, unlike Series One which turned counter-clockwise.
The Design Changes Over Its History
Series Two went through three designs, or four if you include the hybrid that arose just before Series Three was released.
The design of the books mentioned in the paragraphs above is the most popular and easily found of all the covers but it was not the first design. It was the third.
The first design looked very similar to the third except that the lettering on the spine and at the top of the front cover was in white rather than black. The back cover also looked different in that instead of having one large rectangular border with an image of the author (in most cases) it followed the front design with three blocks (a coloured block on top, a white block in the middle and a black block on the bottom). Also, the author and/or title, printed on the front cover was not in the normal lettering but in an italicized lower case print. Lastly, the “N” that you see joining the numbering at the bottom of the spine for the third design is missing. Here is an example:
The second design matched the first except that the lettering on the spine and the top of the front cover was in black rather than white. Here is an example:
The fourth design, if we can include it, was the same as the third design except that the spine matches the Series Three design and the back cover at the bottom includes an ISBN number. I have only found one book in this design (below) unlike the several I have found for the first two designs, therefore I am hesitant to definitely claim it as a design rather than an anomaly. Saying that, the change to this design most likely was prompted by three factors. The first is that M&S changed printing companies (leaving T. H. Best and hiring Webcom). The second is that the ISBN system was implemented at the time and M&S, along with most other publishers, began printing all their books with the ISBN number included. The third is that the designers of the NCL were probably still in the process of collecting all the pieces for the Series Three design and hadn’t finished it in time before the need to issue more books had arrived. Here is an example of the fourth design cover:
NCL Series Two in my Collection
NCL Series Two Originals in my Collection
NCL Series Two Writers in my Collection
|Book Cover||Series Number||Book Title||Author|
|W3||Margaret Laurence||Clara Thomas|
|W8||Hugh MacLennan||Alec Lucas|
|W10||Northrop Frye||Ronald Bates|
|W11||Malcolm Lowry||William H. New|
|W12||James Reaney||Ross G. Woodman|