I began working at Pottermore in July of 2012, three months after it launched. As the first in-house designer it was my job to manage ongoing design work which had previously been established by digital transformation agency TH_NK.
One of my first jobs was to expand on the range of collectable badges available to users of the experience. Below are some concepts illustrating how individual badges could be upgraded if the user completed specific achievements.
These badges needed to be skeuomorphic in design. It was important that the colours did not lean towards any of the four Hogwarts house colours (red, green, blue or yellow) whilst remaining authentic, detailed and appropriately representative of the tasks users needed to complete in order to earn them (such as brewing potions or casting spells).
I was also responsible for designing all of the expansive overlays, which visualised articles taken directly from the fiction.
One of the most challenging design tasks was the Pottermore Map; a hub allowing users to navigate the various locations on Pottermore.
Below are designs for an area of Pottermore called Duelling Club. Sadly these designs were never used, but they illustrate an interesting interactive element of the experience, one that required simplification and a more intuitive user journey.
When Bloomsbury published new editions of the Harry Potter books in September 2014 Pottermore was approached to provide end matter for each book in the series. The purpose of the content was to summarise relevant areas of the online experience and attract the Harry Potter readership back to pottermore.com.
This content had to explain Pottermore to new users but most importantly it had to preview new and exclusive writing from J.K. Rowling. It was important that the messaging was displayed in a clear and accessible way to new users whilst catching the attention of potentially lapsed users.
Working closely with the internal marketing department and Bloomsbury I began to draw up various concept designs that I felt could catch the attention of readers who had just finished reading each book.
It was decided that the imagery from pottermore.com needed to be used in a consistent format and tie together the end matter in a way that made it recognisable from book to book.
The first two books in the series were given two double-page spreads in order to educate the readers about pottermore.com and its functionality in detail. The remaining five books were given single double-page spreads.
Once a format was agreed on I began to work on translating the designs to a format that would work well printed on the paper used in the books. It was important that the imagery was adjusted so that it wasn’t too dark when it was printed. It was a challenge to find relevant artwork which reproduced well in greyscale and on absorbent paper.
I am very proud of the work that I put into these books and I hope that the end matter achieved its goal in bringing new users to pottermore.com.