Badge #2: Graphic Design (Minimalism)

To complete the Graphic Design: Minimalist Design badge, I created a desktop wallpaper and a movie poster for Harry Potter.

My Harry Potter inspired Movie Poster

My Harry Potter inspired movie poster

I created a desktop background inspired by the idea of light and darkness in the film, and then I created a movie poster featuring several of the characters and emphasizing the end of the series.

After reviewing the recommended articles about graphic design and looking at some websites to check out different design aesthetics, the concept of creating a minimalist design became increasingly appealing. Essential to the minimalist design aesthetic is a sense of “less is more,” and achieving an appropriate balance between content and white space can be challenging from the design standpoint, but the ultimate effect of an increased sense of drama and contrast is worth it to make the design stand out.

That said, it was more difficult than I initially thought it would be to create minimalist designs. Because of the dark tone the Harry Potter series took towards the end, emphasizing darker colors and thematic elements like good versus evil or light versus dark seemed to be a logical approach.

Computer background inspired by Harry Potter

Computer background inspired by Harry Potter

The typeface used in both of the designs is Trajan Pro, because a simple, thick and capitalized serif font connotes a sense of directness but it also seems to emphasize a certain epic quality, which works well for the end of this series.

In the computer wallpaper design, I decided to select symbols that would represent the light and dark in the book as personified through Harry himself and Lord Voldemort, who tries to kill him on multiple occasions. Since Voldemort is the heir of Slytherin, whose symbol is a serpent, a snake seemed like the best choice to represent him. In addition, Voldemort’s closest companion is a snake and he speaks Parseltongue, the language of snakes. I used a snake about to strike because it denotes a sense of action. For Harry, I selected an actual bolt of lightning not only because of the lightning bolt scar he has on his forehead but also because of the metaphorical concept of lightning slicing through a sea of darkness. I also selected lightning because in itself it is action. Both of the actions alluded to by the selected images are sudden and sharp, which implies a sense of drama.

For the movie poster, I decided from the start to emphasize many of the characters audiences have come to love and regard as familiars through an assortment of square close-ups of their faces. It was important to the design to mix up the different characters and not imply any sort of rankings of importance or relationships because different characters have come to mean different things for members of the audience. Everyone is basically facing forward; however, I allowed for Neville Longbottom, Molly Weasley, and  Minerva McGonagall to face slightly different ways because the images gave a better sense of the roles of their characters in the final part of the series. I was inspired by one of the designs in Jacob Gude’s article called “40 Beautiful Examples of Minimalism in Web Design” on Six Revisions. The design shown was from the portfolio section of graphic designer Jason Santa Maria’s website. Initially, I was going to leave the background with white space; however, I decided that I wanted to make it darker. First I changed the background to a gray color, then I realized that I could include an image of Lord Voldemort as the background.

An aspect of minimalist design I had to work to remind myself about is the idea that Cameron Chapman emphasizes in his article about design–to omit needless things. As I began designing, I thought of an increasingly large number of ways to portray the themes I decided to emphasize in each of the designs, and I had to leave each of the designs alone for a while before returning to them to alter and simplify. That particular strategy was necessary for me as I attempted not to go overboard with design elements. I struggled with the background of the movie poster for a while, wondering if the Voldemort aspect was too much, but ultimately decided that it was basic enough and left open space that it was still minimalist.

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