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MinaLimaBlog

At MinaLima we are intrigued and enchanted by all things graphic. It’s our passion. We aim to be less than conventional and much more than ordinary.

Category Archives: Books

We have a wonderful book in our collection that warrants a mention in this week’s blog. It’s all about Children’s books and mainly focuses on the cover artwork and how this has developed through the 20th Century.

Children’s book cover design varied greatly between the Victorian era and the 20th Century due to developments in book production and binding. Originally the cover design was produced on the cover itself, however as production moved into the 20th Century, designs began to feature on loose book jackets rather than directly on the cover.

The development of children’s books has come a long way in the 20th Century; in comparison to today they didn’t always hold such an important place in society.

Between 1940 and 1950, book production was affected after the Second World War as materials were in short supply. Paperbacks began to replace hardbacks and books took on smaller formats. Picture books for children at this time did start to emerge and flourish however.

Through the 60’s and 70’s children’s book production was improving, in both production and distribution. So more and more children were able to benefit from a vast array of books in libraries and bookshops, covering many topics and story lines.

The 80’s and 90’s were known as the ‘golden age’ of children’s books as they gained increasing importance and took centre stage due to authors and illustrators such as J.K.Rowling and Quentin Blake.

J.K.Rowling in particular changed the landscape and perception of children’s books for many around the world with the Harry Potter series. If she had never put pen to paper, we wouldn’t be doing what we are today at MinaLima!

Children’s Book Covers’ is written by Alan Powers and we definitely recommend taking a look!

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We were thrilled last week to receive our own copy of the Harry Potter Page to Screen (The Complete Filmmaking Journey) collection! It was delivered to our studio in a huge box so there was only one guess as to what it could be. There are only 3,000 copies of the full collection available worldwide, so it is a true collectors gem for devoted Harry Potter fans.

The collection comprises of 8 beautifully crafted volumes, including a scale prop replica of The Monster Book of Monsters and an oversized portfolio with five prints of concept art. The other 7 volumes explore the different aspects of the filmmaking including costumes, creatures, special effects, muggle attire and of course the graphic arts! Each of the books have also been designed to resemble a book from the library shelves at Hogwarts.

A lot of the volumes are cloth bound and some of the covers include blocked elements, with gold and silver foiling, which really makes the collection look exquisite and unique.

Did you know, the book cover designs for each of the volumes were produced based on inspiration from our graphic designs that featured throughout the films.

We were honoured to design the ‘Guide to the Graphic Arts Department’ book for the collection. We took on every element of the design, from the cover design and end paper, to the layout of the content and imagery.

It’s an exciting portfolio of work highlighting almost all the graphic design we created throughout the entire Harry Potter film series. It demonstrates how the designs and styles evolved, spanning both magic and muggle worlds, encapsulating how we brought the Harry Potter world to life through our passion for graphic design!

The full collection is available on Amazon if you want your own complete collection of filmmaking magic!

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At MinaLima, the art of book design plays quite a big role in our portfolio of work. We have done quite a lot of book design in the past and on some recent projects as well, to be revealed soon. We really enjoy projects that involve this element of design as it’s a fascinating territory and there is so much to learn in order to master the art well.

Book design featured heavily for us as part of our work on the Harry Potter films, especially towards the end as the role of some books invovled played a pivotal part in the plot.

One of those books was ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ which was a very unique piece of book design as it included many design methods such as foiling, blocks and dye cuts. This book was featured in The Deathly Hallows Part One, and the front cover of the book is now part of the print range for sale on The Printorium.

Since work on the early Harry Potter films, the Wyvern Bindery in Clerkenwell has played a big role in the creation of the books we have designed. They offer bespoke binding services and specialise in smaller/one off productions of very unique designs. The skill involved in the beautiful work they produce is a rare find, and they have been a true asset to the work we’ve created over the years.

We were recently thrilled to hear about the launch of the London Centre for Book Arts which has just opened in East London. It is the UK’s first open-access educational book arts centre and they offer workshops and classes in paper making  letterpress printing, bookbinding and book arts. We think it’s wonderful that an establishment has opened which educates and values the details and skills involved in book arts. Let us know if you’re planning a visit, we sure are!

Below are images displaying some of our book design work, including designs for the Harry Potter Films and a more recent WOOP Studios publication.

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At MinaLima we absolutely love books! We have a huge archive of design books which inspire us due to their beautiful imagery, the font and typography found in them, the way they are bound, how they look and what we can discover and learn from them. We have stumbled across this interesting article about a designer who has found a very unique way to bring new life to old books by cutting them up with a scalpel, believe it or not.

The designer is Alexander Korzer-Robinson and the article was found on www.dontpaniconline.com.  The article features an interview with the designer and how he became an artist on a full time basis. Alexander changes the function of the books by taking a scalpel to them and discovering layers of imagery, bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘picture book’ and a new life to each individual book he works on. He also cuts into the front cover of the hardback books, creating a frame for the delicate artwork to appear within.

As you can see from some of the imagery below, this is really intricate and timely work. It certainly must involve a lot of skill to achieve something of this much detail, mystery and beauty. It opens your eyes to a whole new world that books hold within them that hasn’t really been seen in this way before.

Please let us know if you have ever come across any of Alexander’s work before. You can see more of his work on his website.

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Following on from our last post about book cover art we love, here is a design book we also think is worth a mention. It’s called ‘Wallpaper’ by Philippe Model and it’s a visual treat to say the least.

The book contains pages upon pages of patterns and prints exhibited through wallpaper designs which span the last few hundreds of years. It demonstrates how patterns and prints have evolved with the ages through strong visual representation, taking you through the pathway of design both chronologically and thematically.

It’s a visually inspiring book and we have posted a few images from it below. We’ve focussed mainly on imagery from the book which links to some of our WOOP Studios work. Interestingly enough there seems to be a theme of fish appearing through the images we’ve selected, which is in keeping with our favourite quote from the book written below.

The book is very eclectic in its content so no doubt will we be delighting you with more beautiful imagery from it over the next coming months.

Our favourite quote from the book: ‘Let us dive like fish deep into a realm of patterns and prints’!

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Happy Monday Everyone! We came across this book called ‘The Birds of La Plata’ and it caught our eye due to the beautifully designed cover art. The book is written by W.H. Hudson and was published in 1920. It’s one of a two part series of Argentine Ornithology, detailing bird species recognised in the city of La Plata in Buenos Aires. Alongside the descriptions, the book features twenty two hand drawn illustrations of each of the bird species, all drawn precisely to scale. It really is a piece of history, art and ornithology rolled into one – an absolute find.

The reason the artwork caught our eye is due to its elegant style and integration of animals in the design. It reminds us a little of our WOOP Studios work as animals are the main focus of inspiration for our designs. The way the birds are so subtly featured in this cover pattern makes it hard to notice them at first, however when you look at the design properly you can see there is so much detail involved. The colour palette is effectively exercised throughout the pattern as it reflects the historical nature of the book, using faded colours accented only by the yellow on the birds’ wings.

The cover art is very simple, yet elegant and eye catching. It has been designed in a way you would expect to see on fabric or wallpaper, due to the repeat pattern. It is almost a shame this is only used as book cover art, however if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a copy of this version it should be placed somewhere that you can appreciate this artwork, or used as a focus of decoration on your bookshelf!

Please let us know if any of you are lucky enough to own a copy. We would love to have a copy ourselves to add to our library of inspiration. :-)

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Hi everyone! Sorry that we have been so quiet. Life is very busy at MinaLima towers. We will be sharing with you all very soon! :-)

I couldn’t wait any longer to share this book I found last week. I love it – especially the illustrations!

“Frailty Thy Name” published by George Allen & Unwin Ltd (1947) edited by Paul Guermonprez and illustrated by Leo Meter.

The meaning of the expression “Frailthy Thy Name is woman” – Alluding to the alleged inherent weakness of character of women, and the origin cames from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 1602.

I had never heard about Leo Meter the illustrator, researching online I found this and it is fascinating – “Leopold August Longin Meter was born in Cologne, Germany in 1911, the offspring of a long line of socialists and artists. At the age of twelve he was already receiving lessons in painting and drawing at a workshop at the Cologne Opera House. He later studied with Heinrich Campendonk at the Art Academy of Dusseldorf. In 1932, at age twenty-one, he took the position of set designer at the Junge Volksbuhne, a leftist-oriented children’stheater in berlin. He also participated in the socialist Youth Movement. In 1933 Leo, along with everyone else who worked for the Junge Volksbuhne, was arrested by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp. Upon his release, he fled ot Amsterdam, where we met and, in 1936 married, Elisabeth Plaut, a Jew from Frankfurt, who had fled Germany to escape persecution. Leo illustrated books, including one children’s book, and worked at the children’s theater, De vrolikje Brigade. In 1940, when the Nazis occupied Amsterdam, Leo and Elisabeth had to divorce under the Nazis’ race laws. He worked in the resistance, and in 1942 was arrested again. The Gestapo sent him to the Wehrmacht, the German army. His army unit was sent to Ukraine, where he penned the Letters to Barbara, for his four year old daughter. On July 26, 1944, Leo Meter died in action in Poland.” What a sad story.

If you come across any more illustrations by him please let me know.

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Today I am sharing with you a fantastic book I picked up from a charity store months ago. Modern Illustrative Bookkeeping (introduction course :-))
Cloth bound in a lovely soft deep blue colour (anyone know the exact colour?) and full of extremely detailed lessons on how to keep hold of your accounts!

However what they probably didn’t imagine was that they were also making a wonderful example of layout and structure while preserving a classy looking design. The lines and spacing between paragraphs and general grid-look is a classic! Love the use of single colours again, and the crisp lines don’t attract attention away from the content.

My two favourite things in this book however are all the pencil annotations made by the original accounts learner, and especially the price list in the front; detailling the price of soap, coffee, jam between may and june of (date not known)

Hope you like it and gain some inspiration from it!

Hello! This week’s book of choice from my collection is “Tommy Get’s A Medal”. This is a lovely demonstration of single colour illustration. Published in 1958, written by Dora Thatcher, illustrations by Biro. The binding is unknown, and the book is out of print, but luckily I found one in a charity shop somewhere and I love it. The cover is embossed with a square pattern with little dogs (don’t know what breed), and all the drawings are done in black and light blue. This style of illustration is very similar to the work I did for “A Fantastic Fear of Everything” starring Simon Pegg.

Anyway, I hope you like it and look forward to sharing another find with you next week!

Hello! I like to go hunting around in book shops until I find something old and full of inspiration. So, every Wednesday and Friday I will show you one of these books, as I find so many things in shops that I have developed quite a large collection and they are all sitting comfortably in the MinaLima bookshelves.

Here is the first book I wanted to show you all; this is a soldiers’ service records and pay book, with all the related info on Sgt. Edward Murphy, including measurements, next of kin, terms of service, leave records. It’s amazing! So much history in one little book, which such a lovely design. It is very thick card, with fantastically clear fonts, and even a pouch at the back with his record of service. This is a fantastic find, and very useful for design inspiration in graphic props.

Hope you like it!

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