UPDATED: New Italian “Harry Potter” Book Covers Revealed
Images that truly capture the magical world of the Harry Potter book series are something for which we fans are always on the lookout. Show too little, and the illustration fails to move the readers. Show too much, and you may alienate those who have a different mental image of a certain character or detail. Since the publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone), the story has been translated into over 80 languages, and with a lot of those came different cover designs. The latest addition to the international covers is Italian Harry Potter publisher Adriano Salani Editore’s new releases designed by AMDL CIRCLE headed by Michele De Lucchi. And we get to have a glimpse of them for the first time.
Prior to these new releases, Italian Harry Potter editions had their own cover designs that are different from the originals in English published by Scholastic Corporation in the United States (Mary GrandPré) and Bloomsbury Publishing in the United Kingdom (Thomas Taylor, Cliff Wright, Giles Greenfield, and Jason Cockcroft). Judge for yourselves whether they are to your liking or not. While the previous, quirkier cover images by Serena Riglietti appealed to a younger audience who perhaps grew up with the book series – just like De Lucchi’s own children did, which is how he got introduced to the story – the new designs aim at more subtlety.
De Lucchi worked on the cover designs with a group of architects, writers, editors, graphic designers, illustrators, and font designers called AMDL CIRCLE, or simply the “the Circle” as he calls it:
The Circle is a multidisciplinary group of young people to whom I would pass on my intellectual and philosophical position and the working methods that I have used over the years. I asked the group to interpret my work reflecting it on Harry Potter’s magical world, to understand how much of my visionary approach can be related to an imaginary reality.
De Lucchi himself is a designer, writer, and renowned architect. Therefore, the centerpieces of his and his team’s cover designs are iconic buildings, or “visionary architectures,” of the wizarding world such as Hogwarts, the Burrow, Hagrid’s hut, and Azkaban:
As architects, we inevitably approached the novel by having in mind the space, the objects and the atmosphere that these objects generate in space. For each volume, we identified a symbolic architecture, looking for the same archetypes in contemporary works designed by AMDL CIRCLE.
Contrary to the previous Italian covers, De Lucchi and his team’s goal was to create images that were suggestive rather than prescriptive. They aimed “to broaden the vision of the novel, to give everyone a space to fill and develop on their own.” So you won’t find detailed, frontal portraits of the characters in these images, rather “imaginative architectures around which everyone can experience different emotions,” as the artist put it.
De Lucchi said he loves the series for “having invented an alternative society and world, a complete and complex society, in which readers recognize themselves and evolve along with the transformation of the society itself.” Indeed, in addition to the above artistic goals, we can’t help but remember two decades of Harry Potter behind us. As time has passed, the impressions left on readers who grew up with the books evolved with each new release, reread, spin-off, etc. New readers’ experiences will be wholly different and ever-evolving. This occurred to the visionary De Lucchi, who said he and his team “created a new visual reference to welcome new and old generations of fans by giving the covers an innovative and undeniable look.”
What do you think about these brand-new cover designs? Will you be getting your hands on De Lucchi and AMDL CIRCLE’s artwork? Do you think they hit the mark, or are you partial to a particular edition? If so, tell us which.
UPDATE (February 17):
Since we published the above, De Lucchi has opened his studio on Via Varese in Milan, where he has put on display the seven newly designed Italian editions. The small exhibition can be visited until February 26, and it also features sketches, drawings, graphics, and his stunning wooden models of the magical buildings he and his team have reimagined.