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    Evolution of the Harry Potter Book Covers Over the Decades

    logopoppin Updated: January 31, 2024 13 min read
    harry potter book covers

    Discover How New Harry Potter Book Covers Have Evolved from Their Original Designs

    Who here doesn’t know about Harry Potter and the magical world of wonder that began in the early 90s? Most millennials grew up reading these books well before it spawned the popular movie franchise. And just like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, it gained a large following, from adults and kids alike.

    For fans of the series, some of the fondest memories include eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next book in the series, looking through the various Harry Potter book covers of display at the store. At that time, before eBooks became a viable medium to enjoy reading, you would often see highly stylized box sets of popular books series on display at bookstores. However, its rare to see one now.

    In any case, coming back to the point, the rising popularity of the Harry Potter franchise after the movies came out, resulted in special editions or redesigned book covers to be released. And while you might have seen a couple of these special edition covers, do you know them all? Let’s take a look at the evolution of the Harry Potter cover art, and see how professional eBook cover design services have created amazing book covers for the book series across the globe.

    Harry Potter – An Overview of Rowling’s Magical World

    Harry Potter special box sets in house colors

    Harry Potter is a series of seven novels in the magical fantasy genre. They highlight the story of the protagonist, Harry Potter and his friends, as they navigate the magical world around them at the famed Hogwarts School, and fight the evils of Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who killed Harry’s parents. Written by author Joanna K. Rowling, the first book was released by publisher Bloomsbury in 1997, with the last book of the series being released a decade later in 2007.

    The book series combines a mixture of many genres, including fantasy, coming-of-age drama, horror, mystery, and more. Moreover, despite being a book series targeted for young kids, it tackles societal issues like prejudice, hatred, death, and corruption in a surprisingly nuanced manner that made it easy to understand.

    So popular is the fame of the book series, that by February 2023, they had sold over 600 million copies worldwide, in 85 different languages. That made it the record holder for the best-selling book series of all time.

    The Harry Potter franchise today includes an eight-part movie series, as well as spawning two spin-offs, including the stand-alone “The Cursed Child” and the “Fantastic Beasts” series. Moreover, it has also spawned a theme park called “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in the US.

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    A Look at the Various Harry Potter Book Covers Across the Globe

    Now that we have taken a look at the overview of the media franchise, let’s get back to the topic at hand. When it comes to creating amazing book cover ideas, the Harry Potter franchise is next to none. The sheer variety of countries that the book has been published in means that there are a variety of cover art available for us to browse, with some arguably much better than others.

    So, let’s dive in and take a look at these Harry Potter book covers.

    The Original UK Printed Harry Potter Book Covers

    Harry Potter original book cover UK edition

    The original book covers for the UK published Harry Potter books consisted of bright, yet somewhat lighthearted covers that perfectly embodied the concept of children book cover ideas. Even for some of the more somber titles, such as “The Half-Blood Prince”, the cover art is designed to appeal to kids, with the cover showing one of the action scenes rather than the death of a beloved character.

    New Harry Potter Book Cover Art for the UK

    New Harry Potter book covers UK edition

    After the popularity of the Harry Potter media franchise, the design of the book covers was changed. The new cover art featured a darker, more mysterious art style. However, the colors on them are more vivid, offering a more nuanced style of cover art that appeals to modern readers better.

    Original American Print Harry Potter Book Covers

    Original US edition Harry Potter book covers

    The original American Harry Potter books had cover art that was similar in style to the UK Harry Potter covers, yet had more depth to their depictions. Each cover represented a pivotal moment of the book, without giving away too much of the plot. Overall, this style of cover art perfectly balanced the design for both kids and young adults.

    New Harry Potter Book Cover Art for the US

    Harry Potter cover art new for US edition

    The modern cover art for the US-published Harry Potter books features a darker theme just like the new Harry Potter book covers from the UK. However, while the UK editions slowly transitioned to darker cover art as the story progressed, the US edition opted to embody no such feature. Moreover, they opted to highlight the important facets of each book using suitable color combinations, and relied on their typography to tie them together into a series.

    French Harry Potter Book Covers

    Harry Potter book covers in France

    Compared to the UK and US editions, few countries have created cover art that can truly rival them in design. Let’s take the French Harry Potter book covers for example. The colors might be vivid, the titles highly visible, and the imagery perfectly suggestive. However, the style of the character art is quite primitive, a common theme we will be discussing in other iterations of this series’ cover art as well.

    Germany’s Take on the Harry Potter Book Covers

    German Harry Potter book cover art

    Germany has some of the wierdest Harry Potter book covers on this list. The style of imagery for the cover art is quite different from the ones from the UK or US, looking more like children books than the original print covers of the books.

    Think about the style of eurpoean hand-doodled cartoons you might have seen while young, and that’s what the covers look like, something you might imagine for children’s drawing book cover ideas. Moreover, in each book, the character of Harry Potter seems to be breaking the fourth wall and looking directly at the reader.

    Danish/Greenland Harry Potter Book Cover Art

    Denmark and Greenland Harry Potter covers

    Denmark’s take on the Harry Potter book covers was a surprise, and a welcome one at that. Their cover art embodies a darker, more visceral look to them, that somehow still manages to attract readers. The style of art is amazing, with each cover also embodying the feel and vibe of that book’s story.

    For example, the sixth book with the imagery of the undead Inferi sneaking up on Harry while he tries to fill a cup of water for Dumbledore from the look, perfectly captures that moment of the story. In fact, so great was the design for these books, that Greenland decided to adopt that same cover art for their version of the books too.

    Japanese Harry Potter Book Cover Art

    Japanese Harry Potter book covers

    When it comes to japanese art, we have got both extremes. To the weird, and somewhat vulgar art style of anime, to the picteresque and tranquil style of art from the earlier japanese periods, signifies a rich cultural heritage for the country.

    Now, one would assume that for children books, they would opt for the former style, rather than the latter. However, the Harry Potter book covers from Japan have some of the best cover art we have seen, done in the style of classical japanese paintings. These exampled of art book cover ideas embody an ethereal feel, that symbolizes that country’s aesthetic quite well.

    Sweden’s Take on the Harry Potter Book Covers

    Swedish Harry Potter book covers

    The Swedish version of the Harry Potter book covers perfectly capture that magical fantasy genre’s aesthetic. Each book cover features a dizzying arrary of design elements, that still manage to convey a balance in design, and representing the fast-paced and action-packed storylines.

    Moreover, the depiction of Harry as a central element of each page is an amazing design choice, as well as the depiction being the most story accurate in all of the covers we have seen so far.

    Chinese Competition-Winner Book Cover Art for Harry Potter

    Chinese style Harry Potter book cover art

    There is something about East and South East Asian art that embodies a tranquil and soothing vibe into their design. The art style for the Chinese version of Harry Potter book covers is beautifully vintage, done in the style of classic chinese paintings on parchment.

    Each cover design has a soothing sepia tone of parchment as background, over which beautifully painted scenes from each book are painted in the style of chinese water colors. The soft edges of the design, and the overall unconventional look, make them the most memorable of the Harry Potter cover art we have ever seen.

    Russian Harry Potter Book Covers

    Russian Harry Potter book cover art special

    Well, we did save the best for last. If we talk about fantasy book cover ideas that perfectly manage to signify each book seperately, but also ties them together into one single entity, there is no better than this Russian version.

    The design of each book is dark, with a vivid cover art on each that represents its individual story. However, the best part about these books is the design on their spine. When put together side by side, the entire set’s spines combine to form a highly detailed image of Hogwarts on a moonlit night. Its this little detail that made this cover art our top dog.

    Special Harry Potter Book Covers Released Through the Years

     UK Harry Potter cover art for adults

    While we have looked at the mainstream cover art for the Harry Potter book covers across various countries, there have also been special editions published as commemorative memorabilia. These book covers are designed as collector items, representing something significant, such as an anniversary of the book series.

    Now, let’s take a look at some of these special book covers for the Harry Potter series.

    Special Harry Potter Book Covers for An Adult Audience

    US Harry Potter cover art for adults

    As the popularity of these books rose, especially after the film series started to generate more hype, publishers discovered that the books also appealed to the older generation. Therefore, it was decided that the publishers, especially the American publisher, would re-release another version of the books, featuring more adult-oriented cover art.

    The theme of these book covers was darker, with a more mysterious element to their design. Even we would have a hard time beleiving that these books are part of the Harry Potter series, at least at a single glance. however, this cover is amazing in its depiction, somehow perfectly embodying the story.

    Ornate Harry Potter Book Covers – Signature Edition

    Signature edition book covers for Harry Potter

    There has also been a signature edition released for the UK market, which had a more ornate cover art, as well as premium features such as gold stencils, as well as a script-like font for the cover typography. Moreover, these Harry Potter book covers also featured a gold signature of the author on the book as well, hence the name “Signature Edition”. While not popular for the mainstream, these served well as collector items or for gifts.

    Hardcover 20th Anniversary Edition Book 1 Harry Potter Cover Art in House Colors

    Harry Potter Book 1 book covers in house colors and art for US

    On the first book’s 20th anniversary, the US publisher released a special edition of that book with four differnet sover styles. Each of those book covers released featured one of the Hogwarts’ House Symbols, as well as the respective colors for that house for the cover art.

    This resulted in offering a more immersive experience for the fans, meaning that they could buy this book with a cover that suited that personality the best. And it tunrned out to be a great option for its older fans.

    FAQs

    How many Harry Potter book covers are available?
    Since the release of the first book, there has been over 200 different styles of Harry Potter book covers. In fact, it is almost impossible to catalogue them all, as with over 600 million sold, there are numerous editions designed for local audience around that world.
    Which of the Harry Potter book covers are considered the best?
    Well, each fan of the series is partial to the book covers that they grew up reading. However, the cover art for some of the later books, such as the original UK-edition Order of the Phoenix cover art, or the American Half-Blood Prince cover art, is considered some of the best of the original designs.
    What is the rarest Harry Potter book?
    The rarest Harry Potter books are the first edition and first printing of the “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, where 300 of the 500 published were issued to libraries. That makes them a rare collector item.

    Conclusion

    To sum it up, there are a variety of different Harry Potter book covers out there, even excluding the ones that we have discussed so far. That is because the popularity of the book series, as well as the greater hype after the success of the movie franchise, resulted in many different artists trying their luck at creating some iconic cover art.

    However, while there may be many of these options that we could not discuss today in our list, this collection of Harry Potter cover art is enough to help inspire your own amazing book covers..

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