MinaLima Reveals Marauder’s Map Secrets
MinaLima’s distinctive graphic design is now synonymous with the Harry Potter film series – and now the Fantastic Beasts series. Perhaps the most iconic item created for the film series by the design duo, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, is the Marauder’s Map, seen for the first time in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
As part of Entertainment Weekly’s binge of the Harry Potter series, MinaLima spoke about creating the map and the story behind it.
We started off knowing what we didn’t want. We didn’t want it to be a Treasure Island, burnt edges, whimsical in that sense piece. We thought about who would’ve created this, so these four characters were very cunning and intelligent and crafty in what they were doing with this map. We went back to look at some reference, and I found some lovely – I think it was 17th, 18th century – illustrations that were completely made out of words, and that idea seemed to fit perfectly with what they might have done as these cheeky characters, as students.
The duo was keen to incorporate Hogwarts’s complex structure into to the creation of the magical map.
In the early films, the kids are a bit confused. The staircases are moving left and right, and they never quite know what floor they’re on, and it’s overwhelming. We wanted to feel that, so the fact that it’s got these flaps and different layers that you can unfold and you’re never quite sure where you are was definitely a decision based on the architecture.
Mina further adds,
If you look at the layout of the hand lettering that we did, it’s an exact trace in terms of form of the architecture that [production designer] Stuart Craig was drawing at the same time for the set, so that it does look credible as a map. It’s not just a load of lettering. If you look closely, you’ll see that there are walls, windows, shapes that actually reflect, for example, Dumbledore’s office. It needs to be anchored in a credible situation visually.
The duo also talked about why they created real articles for the newspapers used on set.
We learned quite early on that it just doesn’t work visually to write nonsense as copy. If you write blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you’ll see that it looks like that. We always thought we might as well put real copy, so all the articles in the Daily Prophet have headlines.
The detail on the Harry Potter set as we well know – and Eddie Redmayne commented recently on how amazed he was at the detail involved on the Fantastic Beasts set – was appreciated by all members of the cast.
I remember one of the Weasley twin [actor]s said to me, ‘I was so grateful to have books that had actual copy in because I felt like if someone had gone to the trouble of creating that prop for me that I could jolly well put in as much effort in my performance.’
You can listen to the full podcast, where the duo discusses their work in more detail, below.
MinaLima’s graphic design work, including the Marauder’s Map, can currently be seen at the House of MinaLima in London. An exhibition will be heading to Paris this month. Find out more about MinaLima here.
Let us know your thoughts about the creation of the Marauder’s Map! What’s your favorite item that MinaLima has designed?