Updated: Apr 6, 2021
There is something so charming about the first designs for the Harry Potter series, with their tricolour spines and cheerful colouring.
The first, designed in 1997 by Thomas Taylor, depicts Harry as most of us imagined him before the character became synonymous with Daniel Radcliffe’s portrayal in the films. Taylor, who was fresh out of art school, was as new to children’s books as J. K. Rowling, and for both illustrator and author, it was their first foray into the world of professional publishing. Even as Harry grew noticeably bulkier for Cliff Wright’s cover designs for books two and three (and then alarmingly disproportionate in Giles Greenford’s foreshortened depiction for the Goblet of Fire; Jason Cockroft took over for the end of the series), Taylor’s first images of Harry and the unknown wizard who graces the back cover are, for many who grew up with the series, the definitive images that come to mind when we think of Harry.
Cover designs for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling (illustrations: Thomas Taylor, 1997) via The Verge.