Yesterday at LeakyCon I attended the How Harry Got Its Style panel with graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, who led the design on all of the graphic props of the Harry Potter films. Mira, Eduardo, and Lauren, also a graphic designer who worked on the films, talked about the 10 years they spent working on Harry Potter and the films they were a part of in between, which include The Golden Compass and Sweeney Todd. During this panel the designers were able to show in greater detail designs that many fans had never noticed before and share personal stories from the studio.
Mira told us that while computers were useful, many props, such as the Marauder’s Map, were made by hand with ink and paper. She explained that the map is an example of a “hero prop” which is a prop specifically used in action by a character. These props are designed with extraordinary amounts of detail, but every background prop is given the same amount of attention.
As the films contain no product placement, every ad and sign in the muggle world also had to be created. The team referred to this as “the muggle struggle”, commenting that after creating magical items for the wizarding world normal items seemed boring.
LeakyCon attendees enjoyed seeing the designs and applauded for their favorites like Hogwarts A History and Barret Fay’s Mudbloods and How to Spot Them. These and all of the graphic props had to be created in large quantities as they were often being destroyed during filming. “We would read the script and say, Oh no! They’re going to throw that one in the lake or set it on fire,” said Mira, “They were always setting our things on fire.”
Some of the design process involved the design team getting to know the characters and designing items specifically for them. Eduardo designed over 20 titles of books for Hermione to carry in her bottomless bag and Ron’s bedside table was filled with products like Blemish Blitzer and Fergus’ Fungle Budge.
The design team wanted the world to feel as authentic as possible which sometimes meant creating items that were not mentioned in the books. Eduardo talked about how filling the Daily Prophet full of random letters would have looked wrong, so the team created new articles and stories for every edition. The most popular of these was an ongoing story about a “Ginger Witch” who couldn’t seem to keep out of trouble.
The panel concluded with a quick showing of many Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes products, but the team said they have so much more to share. Fans will be able see and order their own limited edition prints from the MinaLima Printorium soon and you can find out more about MinaLima Design on their website.
A very special thanks to Mina, Eduardo, and Laura for joining us at LeakyCon this year and to everyone to attended this very special panel.