They say “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but when it came to redesigning the Harry Potter ebook and audiobook covers, every creative decision was meticulously analysed by the experts.
Pottermore Publishing and The Blair Partnership sat down with Jack Bedford of Studio La Plage, the creative agency that reimagined the Harry Potter stories with a vibrant suite of new covers. In this roundtable interview we delve deep with the team as they discuss the core themes and visual choices they explored when developing this new look.
This is a particularly special year in the Wizarding World, marking 10 years of Pottermore and 25 years since the first Harry Potter book was published in the UK. What better time to reimagine the ebook and audiobook covers originally designed by Olly Moss. In this series, the team discuss the challenges of reimagining the stories, incorporating new digital trends and reflecting how the wizarding world is represented for a new generation. From colour palette choices to deciding how many freckles Hermione should have, the minutia of every artistic decision was taken very seriously! Take a look.
The first thing you notice in the new covers is their vibrant use of colour, but look closer and you’ll discover that each of the seven covers have their own unique flourishes. The team was extremely conscious about creating something relevant and contemporary for digital readers whilst respecting the most magical moments from each of the stories for fans who have followed Harry Potter since the very beginning.
When it came to actually picking which moments to highlight on each of the seven book covers, the team faced an embarrassment of riches. For the first book cover, the team decided that Harry playing Quidditch was the perfect way to represent his first adventure, with meticulous choices being made to reflect him at his happiest whilst also showing how young and inexperienced he was (for example by showing his leg at a crooked angle whilst riding the broom).
“Showing that naivety was super important,” the team observed. Beyond Harry, characters, such as Ron, Hermione, Neville and Dumbledore were all important to feature, leading to “weird conversations” about how many freckles Hermione should have and the size of her teeth! No stone was left unturned when depicting beloved characters and iconic scenes.
For each cover, it’s not just about what’s going on in the foreground – the backgrounds deserved just as much attention. Fans can spot nuances throughout the series, including giving the Knight Bus a number and adverts just like a Muggle bus, and Krum’s shark head in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire cover.
Challenges of canonical accuracy remained at the forefront of everyone’s mind, including questions you may not think about, such as how Lord Voldemort would hold his wand. But certain artistic liberties were also taken, including ensuring Harry’s “beloved feathered companion” Hedwig featured in the covers somewhere, even if she wasn’t technically in the original scene.
“We went back and forth over those moments”.
To watch the full interview, head to the Wizarding World YouTube channel.