The Wizarding World of graphic design

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book’s release and I’ve been a loyal fan since the day one. As part of a generation that grew up alongside the release of the books and films, Harry Potter has been responsible for shaping my childhood and still plays a major role in my life.

As a complete Potterphile I didn’t think it was possible to fall in love with the stories any more than I already was, that was until Warner Brothers opened its studio tour in 2012.

Until then I had watched the films in awe but never properly appreciated the beauty of the graphic art that plays such a big part in creating the magical world I’d become so familiar with. On display was everything from the thousands of bottles that filled the shelves of Professor Snape’s potions classroom to the hundreds of individually handwritten Hogwarts acceptance letters Harry received before his eleventh birthday.

Over 50 editions of the Daily Prophet newspaper were on show and every page was crammed with fictional stories and adverts. Textbooks such as the Advanced Potion-Making and The History of Magic were full of clever and innovative content, and made to look like any schoolbook that has been used and abused by distracted students.

These intricate graphic details of Harry Potter’s world can be attributed to just two people, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima. Together they founded MinaLima and crafted all the props found in the films, turning JK Rowling’s words into physical objects. As well as everything I’ve already mentioned, they also brought to life the marauders’ map, packaging for Honeydukes and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and the WANTED posters for dark witches and wizards, and that barely scratches the surface of their creations.

Their work is so successful because it is thoroughly researched, tried and tested. They have been guided by many different styles, from the Soviet propaganda influences used in Ministry of Magic posters to the 1950s Olympic feel of the Quidditch World Cup artwork, MinaLima cleverly create things that are strangely familiar but with a magical twist.

To successfully create some of the props, Mina and Lima had to get inside the minds of the characters to make sure they were believable within their world. Take the packaging found in the Weasley twin’s joke shop for example, the designers had to restrain their personally preferred techniques in favour of what the brothers might have produced by using offset garish colours, bad printing techniques and clashing typefaces. You can hear more about their creative processes in a talk Mina and Lima gave at Universal Studios Orlando.

In my opinion Mina and Lima’s work on the Harry Potter films is hard to beat. It is in their small, uncompromised details that the true magic of Harry Potter is found. Their work is what really creates the world in which Harry and his friends exist. Whether you are a Potter fan or not, it’s easy to see what an amazing job they’ve done. Their passion for what they do is obvious and even though the Harry Potter films are complete, they continue to wow us with their work on Fantastic Beasts and MinaLima is bringing new life to a host of books.

So what are you waiting for? Go pay a visit to the studios in Watford or go to MinaLima’s exhibition shop in London and see the magic for yourself!

Useful links:

The Graphic House of MinaLima:

The Making of Harry Potter Warner Brother’s Studio Tour: