By C.J. Bunce
We’ve reviewed several books here at borg about the works of MinaLima and by MinaLima, the dynamic art duo of Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, who designed graphic props for the Harry Potter movies as well as an ongoing series of beautiful, updated editions of classic fairy tales and children’s books (most recently reviewed here). A full-color illustrated compendium is coming next week, compiling a large collection of the duo’s twenty-year journey creating the look of the most popular fantasy world. The Magic of MinaLima: Celebrating the Graphic Design Studio Behind the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Films (available for pre-order here) may not be the last book written on the Harry Potter franchise, but it’s a fairly comprehensive look from beginning to end.
“It all started with a letter . . .”
Beginning with their hand-written letter prop that brought Harry Potter into the fold of his magical future, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima began their partnership in 2001 when Warner Bros. invited them to take on the Harry Potter film adaptations. The artists have created several eye-catching pieces even the casual fantasy film enthusiast could identify: the Marauder’s Map, the unique Daily Prophet newspaper, and countless labels for candy and everyday objects in the background of nearly every scene of the 11 films.
The Magic of MinaLina is a follow-on, and nice companion, to their previous book The Archive of Magic (reviewed here). Mina and Lima would form a design studio of their own, and were hired to continue their work beyond the Potter films into theme park rides and events. These include the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando Resort, and back to the films again for the Fantastic Beasts film series. Capitalizing on their popularity with Potter fans, the studio opened House of MinaLima, a series of art galleries and shops in London and across the world. The final third of the volume covers all of these projects with samples from each.
Better than previous works discussing Mina and Lima’s contributions, the pair share here even more about their process. Yes, much of the magic behind creating the magic remains secret (how exactly does a small group of artists create so many labels, and where did they source the designs for each specifically?), but here they answer several questions about their process. They even include a recipe of sorts for some of their creations.
Along with the two decades of visual props, as with most of the MinaLima books they’ve created, The Magic of MinaLina includes a handful of tipped-in paper ephemera prop reproductions. Some are from the films, others are behind-the-scenes views into the history of the studio.
Readers will get lost in the sheer volume of labels, book jackets, book spines, maps, prints, papers, documents, and posters–it’s almost overwhelming how many visuals can be stuffed into a two-page layout.
The latest hardcover volume for your favorite Harry Potter fan and any beginning or advanced student of design, The Magic of MinaLima: Celebrating the Graphic Design Studio Behind the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Films is available for pre-order now here at Amazon, coming to bookstores November 1, 2022, from Harper Design.