From Harry Potter to Fantastic Beasts: the memories of MinaLima, a graphic design duo…

We owe him Harry Potter’s letter of acceptance to Hogwarts, the Marauder’s Map and many other objects from the world created by JK Rowling, the MinaLima duo answered our questions on the occasion of the release of Fantastic Beasts 3 .

If they may not know their names, fans of the Harry Potter universe know their countless creations well: Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima have been the official graphic designers of the magic saga since the first films at the beginning of the 2000.

Nicknamed MinaLima, the duo also worked on the three parts of Fantastic Beasts, including the last, The Secrets of Dumbledore, currently showing, which they discussed at the microphone of AlloCiné.

What is your favorite thing to create for Fantastic Beasts 3?

Miraphora Mina: We had a lot of new worlds to imagine, but I think going to Bhutan – and having this completely new environment that was very local, very primitive in a way in its style and because it was so far away and separate from the cities, but also of all those dogmas that we were used to in the world of Harry Potter – it was an opportunity to reimagine some of the symbols, figures, shapes and styles that could be in this magical and sacred destination, that we had never seen before.

And of course, the first time we do it is through the portkey. Creating the spirit design for this object that is in the Room of Requirement was a fun task. The idea is always to make people feel like it’s magic rather than show them. We wanted to bring a spirit of magic, it was a joy to do.

From harry potter to fantastic beasts: the memories of minalima, a graphic design duo...
Warner Bros.

Portkey from Dumbledore’s Secrets.

Eduardo Lima: Another big part of our work on this film was the elections. We had to create all the material for the supporters of Santos, Tao and Grindelwald. And for me, specifically, having a little bit of Brazil in this film is really close to my heart since I come from there. So creating the insignia for the Ministry of Magic and all the other supports of Vicência, it was fantastic.

And what was the design that gave you the most trouble?

Miraphora Mina: When we went to muggle worlds in Harry Potter, it was kind of boring because it was contemporary. But in the Fantastic Beasts saga, it’s still great because we have to bring the streets of the 30s to life quite often. We did it for New York, Paris and now Berlin. But because of the fantastic way these movies are made, almost everything is done in the studio.

Thus, the streets are all built in the studio. To create many, many streets that feel like part of an entire city, we need to condense it all into a smaller space, but use graphics to make that single space feel like three or four different places. It’s a real challenge, because it becomes a kind of organizational logistics.

From harry potter to fantastic beasts: the memories of minalima, a graphic design duo...
Warner Bros.

Berlin in Dumbledore’s Secrets.

Eduardo Lima: It’s the magic of cinema!

Miraphora Mina: I’m sure people, when they see the movie, will think it’s the same street corner with a different store. You have to constantly try to reshape the pieces you have on set and suggest to the audience that this is a completely different part of Berlin. It’s a real challenge, because it’s actually something very organizational, rather than being free to imagine.

You have created countless designs for the Harry Potter universe. What creation are you most proud of?

Miraphora Mina: That might sound a little general, but I think after 20 years of creative involvement, every time we talk to fans and they tell us very kindly that we helped bring this world to life, it’s actually what makes you really proud. Because you kind of think, “God, we helped shape this fictional world for so many people” and we didn’t really know that was going to be the case!

When we started, we worked on one film and then the next film and you just try to work for each project. But the sum of all the parts in the end, when you’ve made 11 movies for the franchise, that’s what makes you proud, when you meet fans, and that’s the expression of their pleasure and joy to have grown up with it.

From harry potter to fantastic beasts: the memories of minalima, a graphic design duo...
Warner Bros.

The letter of invitation to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Eduardo Lima: And also to know that in one way or another we have inspired people to become graphic designers or to have a passion for filmmaking. It is also the best payment!

Among your most iconic creations is the famous Marauder’s Map. Can you tell us about its development?

Eduardo Lima: This is one of our favorite designs.

Miraphora Mina: Yes, I think it’s probably one of our favorites. When we create these pieces, if they are very present in the story by being part of a scene or advancing the plot, for us they kind of become a character in themselves. It’s almost like you have the actors, the characters, and then sometimes you have a very special piece that’s part of that situation.

For us, it was a very living thing, the Marauder’s Map. And the most important thing is that we had to find the key to the style, because no one said how this map should be and in the books it is very general and described as a piece of paper, I believe, a piece of parchment. But to get there, you have to understand who made this map.

From harry potter to fantastic beasts: the memories of minalima, a graphic design duo...
Warner Bros.

The Marauder’s Map in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

And so, from the start, we had to make sure that it wasn’t us who drew the map, but these four Marauders and we know a little about them from fiction. And I think if you understand the personality of the person behind the piece, then you can start finding visual cues to help you. So in this case, they were a little cunning and creative and a little cheeky and naughty.

(…) [La carte] also reflects the architecture of the school and the fact that the students don’t always know where they are with the moving stairs and it’s a sort of endless cavern of hallways. So we wanted there to be this three-dimensional mystery as well.

Our interview with the cast of Fantastic Beasts 3:

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