The INSIDER Summary:
• Miraphora Mina created the graphic designs for “Fantastic Beasts” and the “Harry Potter” films.
• She said recreating 1926 New York was the biggest challemge.
• Her team made storefronts and street posters to bring the city to life.
When creating the world of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” director David Yates and producer David Heyman got the old gang back together again for another franchise.
They hired MinaLima, the six-person London-based design firm that created everything from the Marauder’s Map to the product labels on everything in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to help recreate 1926 New York City for “Fantastic Beasts.”
It was a different experience than creating the purely fictional, fantastical world of “Harry Potter.” Miraphora Mina, one of MinaLima’s co-founders, told INSIDER that it was a challenge to adhere to the history of the place.
“There’s lots of things that you wouldn’t necessarily notice in the film that have to be quite meticulously thought out, like the geography of this real place,” Mina said. “If we’re downtown in the tenements, then who’s got those businesses? If we know from the time that it’s Irish, Italian, Jewish — predominently — then we have to reflect that in the businesses and the names.”
The non-magical, muggle world was bigger than Harry Potter’s world, Mina said, and it was all recreated as part of a giant set in London.
Each building was given its own “graphic identity” to establish a sense of space and where each part of the set was supposed to be in New York. The scenes in Downtown Manhattan by the Brooklyn Bridge had to look clearly distinct from the scenes in midtown, on the way to Central Park, even though it was all shot on the same London set.
In researching that setting, the MinaLima team had to not only research what 1926 was like — and not go beyond that date — but also what the city was like ten or fifteen years before that, because not everything on the streets would be new.
To create the world, they made storefronts, street posters, as well as magical and non-magical books, magazines, and newspapers. Many of them were stuffed in the backgrounds of scenes to give everything a sense of reality. Other objects, like the poster on the door of the Blind Pig, and the Magical Exposure Threat Level Clock, were important parts of the plot.
And with all of those details, the MinaLima team successfully brought a new part of J.K. Rowling’s world to life.
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