It's amazing to think that Harry Potter has been (and continues to be) a part of so many people's lives for so long. Next year will mark twenty years since the release of the first book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone - I was nearly five at the time and with my mum reading it to me at night, a whole new world opened up to me. Ten years later, at fifteen, I was anxiously awaiting the release of the final book. Now, nearly another decade later, the films and the books still capture my imagination, remaining firm favourites on my shelves.
Ask any fan, and they'll generally have something in the films which didn't quite match up to their hopes or expectations for them. This is the way of book-to-film translation; our interpretation of how the written word should be visually transformed is never quite the same as someone else's. However: the world created in the films is something else. Any visitor to the Harry Potter Studio Tour can see the astounding attention and care that went into building the magical world we all loved so much. Graphic design is a huge part of the films, and something that I think gets really overlooked. So much of the atmosphere of a scene relies on the little things: the signage, schoolbooks, packaging, writing, labels on jars in the Potions classroom (a personal favourite).
The duo behind much of the design for the Harry Potter films is MinaLima - Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, who have been working together ever since they met on set in 2001. They've now opened up their own shop and gallery, House of MinaLima; a four-storey treasure trove of graphic design goodies. The top two floors are dedicated to a new exhibition, The Graphic Art of the Harry Potter Films, which displays many of the original graphic design items and props from the films. I loved the little section on graphic design at the Studio Tour, so this hugely expanded version was incredible! As I'm studying books and the history of their design, I was particularly interested in their designs for the many books needed in the films: the marbled paper cover for Hogwarts: A History; the gold embossed leather Fantastic Beasts; and my favourite, the frankly spectacular cut metal plating on Magical Hieroglyphs and Logograms.
Expect to find a whole host of the colourful Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes packaging, Nazi and Soviet propaganda inspired Daily Prophet pages, the classic 'Undesirable No. 1' Ministry poster, the Marauder's Map and much, much more. It's not a huge building (it's probably as close as you'll get to Diagon Alley in Central London), but it's easy to spend the whole afternoon there.
FIND THE HOUSE OF MINALIMA AT: 26 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 5DE