Fantastic Beasts is real. It’s filming right now and we’ve just had our first sneak peek at what the filmmakers have in store, in the shape of this enigmatic new logo.
One thing seems clear: it belongs squarely within J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, yet is a very different beast. It is going to be absurdly fun to try to unlock its secrets before the film comes out in November 2016. I spoke with one of the design team about the process.
‘With Harry Potter, the books existed and so the fans knew what the lightning bolt represented going into the film,’ they say. ‘With Fantastic Beasts there is the anthology that J.K. Rowling wrote, but the story is unknown. It’s a mystery.’
And boy does that raise a lot of questions.
‘And that’s exciting!’ they enthuse. ‘It’s part of the fun and we’re fans, too. If we were seeing this for the first time, what would excite us? That’s how we have to think. You’re trying to capture a lot of different imaginations, but the logo – that’s for everybody.
‘If you think of Harry Potter, that logo instantly comes into your mind: the lightning bolt “P” and the shape of the words. So we wanted this one to feel like it was born of that same world. We were trying to come up with something that drafted similarly off that iconography but in a new way. In a Fantastic Beasts way.’
So what about the beasts which inspired them? The designers remain tight-lipped on potential spoilers, but can reveal that the ‘S’ was inspired by a creature that does appear in the film.
‘The logo is a blend of beasts, it’s not just one takeaway. When we arrived on idea for the “S”, it excited us. So we thought there must be a way to accent these other letters with claws or ribs — hints to other beasts, while this one is the logo’s centrepiece.’
And as you may have heard, Fantastic Beasts is set in the Roaring Twenties – a fertile playground for any creative team. So with the backdrop of the Jazz Age within grasp, was it tempting to go for a full-on period piece with the artwork?
‘If you think of New York in the 1920s you have Deco architecture, the subway systems and this kind of a burgeoning metropolis. The Roaring Twenties has a visual identity that you can borrow from, and what would that world look like through the lens of the J.K. Rowling’s mind? You want the logo to feel iconic and timeless. So while Deco and the 1920s setting are things to think about, we don’t know exactly where the story is going to take us.’