Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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RiP George Dale

Australian book designer George Dale has died, aged 74.

Dale was Penguin’s first in-house designer, and went on to design over 2000 covers during his 30 years with the publisher. Dale is particularly known for his work on the books of children’s author Paul Jennings and cartoonist Michael Leunig.

In 2002, Dale was the recipient of the Joyce Thorpe Nicholson Designer’s Hall of Fame Award, presented for ‘significant contribution to the standards and quality of Australian book design’.

Bryony Cosgrove, editor and publisher at Penguin Books Australia from 1981 to 1997, writes:

‘A highly regarded designer and typographer, George was appointed as a full-time designer at Penguin Books Australia in 1974, later becoming art director.

‘He was a voracious reader and often had input into editorial and publishing decisions. His jacket and interior designs reflected his interest in the content of the books on which he worked, an outstanding example being Richard Haese’s Rebels and Precursors. He worked closely with children’s publisher Julie Watts on her list, and his partnership with Michael Leunig produced a series of brilliant books.

‘George devoted much time to mentoring young designers, patiently looking through folios one morning a week.

‘He did not suffer fools and could be prickly. The cacti he kept on the windowsill near his desk were all allegedly named after colleagues at Penguin. Yet he was a kind and loyal friend, and I count myself lucky to have known him.

‘George passed away on 19 March 2016 after an extended period of ill health. He is survived by his devoted partner of many years, Lou Thorn, his son Tycho, and his brother John and sister-in-law Libbe.’


Category: Obituaries