Bloomsbury, publishers of the Harry Potter series, have announced a new “Signature Series” of the popular books, aimed at new readers who missed the madness the first time around. After all, an entire generation of schoolchildren were barely alive in 1997, when the first book in the series hit shelves.
There’s also a financial motive, with Bloomsbury missing the Harry Potter sales, which had sent profits soaring every time a new book was released. This news comes from a post on UnBeige, who always has the inside scoop with publishing and magazines and that.
I, of course, am more interested in the book covers than the inner workings of the flailing publishing industry. The new series features illustrations by Clare Melinsky and design by Webb & Webb. While I enjoy the illustrations, with a old-school inspired, litho-print feel, I’m not a huge fan. In my opinion, there’s too much white space, and the Harry Potter signature dominates but distorts the relationship with the rest of the title. Makes it seem like the book is actually called “and the Order of the Phoenix,” for example, but happens to be part of the Harry Potter series. Further, while I enjoy anything branded into a series, I don’t understand the slim strip of colour along the right edge. It seems tacked on, a last-minute addition to say “oh yea, we’ve gotta have colour distinction as well.” Check out the full series, in high-res, on the Bloomsbury site.
Also, shouldn’t the signature be that of J.K. Rowling, instead of fictional character Harry Potter? Plus, readers of the book will certify my belief that Harry, raised in a less-then-nurturing [muggle] household, probably would never develop the calligraphic skills required for such a signature.
By my eyes, the series of “minimalist” covers designed by M.S. Corely are a much better execution, utilising bolder imagery and a more-graphical use of the two-colour printing to give it that mid-century feel. I wrote about these way back in February 2009, if you were paying attention.
And of course there’s also the “adult” covers, available in the UK, where the normal, child-focused covers are brighter and indeed more child-like. These, I felt, were quite sharp all along and would be happy to have these on my shelf. You can find them on Amazon.
And for a full menagerie of Harry Potter covers the world over, check out The Leaky Cauldron. No doubt they are the authorities on this shit and will likely be discussing these covers in no time.