Subscribe to my Telegram Channel,
and get new articles first!

Harry Potter - the secret of the vibe and aesthetics

Let's analyze in detail what elements are components of the magic atmosphere
Author of the article: Tatiana Zhakova
Journalist, linguist, teacher of storytelling with 10 years of experience
In 2015 she created and promoted her project about Nizhny Novgorod,, after which she created a course called "Storytelling: How to Tell Your Story" based on it. Over 4,000 students have taken the course.

A linguist by education, she quickly masters new areas. Now she is actively studying screenwriting and storytelling in movies/serials, and writes about it in her project's blog.
Over the past 10 years, the universe of the Harry Potter books and movies has become a world in its own right and a highly sought-after one. The wizarding school of Hogwarts, the mysterious Slanted Lane, the robes, wands, and all the other components of the wizarding and muggle world all have their own, slightly dark, but very alluring aesthetic.

Harry Potter-inspired clothes are created, recipes are written, photographs are stylized. But what exactly makes this world so magical and aesthetic?

In this article, I've compiled the basic elements and components of the so-called "vibe" of the Harry Potter universe. So if you are planning a photo shoot in this style (or just want to understand what its mechanisms are) - you can study these elements and then repeat them in your creation. I'm sure it will work and make your story a little more like the story of the boy who survived.
The possibility of magic
We are always attracted to the unknown. And probably every child inside of us wants magic wands, extraordinary creatures and abilities that go against physical laws to really exist. Deep down, we want to believe in a fairy tale.

That's why this world attracts us so much. Here it is possible to grow bones in your hand in one night, fly on a broomstick and change your appearance by brewing a special potion. Isn't that wonderful? Especially when the magical universe is spelled out in such colorful language.

So magic and magic itself is clearly at the top of the list of things that appeal to us in this story.
Dark shades and muted colors
All the films in the series are shot in very dark tones. Moreover, the more mature the characters, the darker the shades. This is due to the fact that they are going through more and more difficult trials. Death, loss, war appear. From a children's tale, the story becomes a dramatic work.

The dark corridors and classrooms of Hogwarts, the black robes of the students, the vintage accessories, the constantly frowning sky overhead, all create a certain tone to the narrative.

The main colors are black, brown, dark green, navy blue, gold, and burgundy. They are the ones that set the audience in a mystical mood.

They are repeated in the interior and clothing of the characters, contrasting with each other. Black and navy blue on one side, gold and yellow on the other. And all this is constantly diluted with bright pink and green spots.

This creates a unique, mysterious style that is maintained throughout the eight films.

Magical soundtrack
You must agree that as soon as you imagine Hogwarts, you see boats with first-year students sailing toward it, and you hear the magic chime in your head. The sound design is very important, because it's what helps you get in the right mood. And it adds a lot of points to the magical vibe.
Knitted sweaters and scarves
In winter our heroes wear long striped scarves over black robes. The color of the scarf depends on the faculty. In Gryffindor, for example, it is burgundy with gold, in Slytherin it is green with silver.

And when the heroes don't wear robes, they wear cozy sweaters knitted by Molly Weasley. These sweaters are tweed, wool, and fine-knit. Which also looks very aesthetically pleasing and atmospheric.

Imagine this: if these were bright over-sized sweaters of neon colors and big stitches, they clearly wouldn't fit into this story.

And here all the knitwear is delicate, with small elements. Both sweaters and scarves all play into the overall atmosphere and aesthetic of the series.

And such a thing, taken separately from this world, will also remind you of it.

Gloomy hygge
Hygge is the Danish understanding of coziness, which emerged as a way to cope with constant bad weather.
Its elements are warm plaids, candles, marshmallow cocoa, cozy books by the fireplace, and lights. Basically, anything that can create coziness inside when it's slushy outside the window.

It seems that in "Harry Potter" we see the same hygge, only in darker shades. And probably here it is needed and not only in the literal sense, because Harry has to disperse the clouds not only outside the window.
Snow and Christmas
Even though the series is not directly about Christmas, "Harry Potter" is considered one of the most popular and sought-after New Year's Eve movies. Every movie in the series features New Year's Eve, Christmas trees, garlands, and snow flakes, which, when combined with the rest of the magical components, adds even more magic and wonder.

In the books in general, as far as I remember, Christmas has always had a special place and symbolizes the equator of history.
Endless stairs and high vaults
There's a lot of air in Hogwarts. High vaults, bridges, and mountains give a sense of space. And at the same time show how small one can be in all this magical world.

Now this aesthetic is gaining momentum- lofts with high ceilings, studios in Stalinist buildings, and so on. I think we owe this fashion, among other things, to Harry Potter.
Vintage trains
Is there anything more associated with a fairy tale than vintage trains rushing into the unknown? Here we observe them as well.
Black robes
The dark tone of the films is created largely by the black robes, which are the uniforms of Howarts students. Because whenever there are a lot of them-at lectures, in the great hall, etc.-we see a big black sea of robes.

In normal life, nobody wears gowns. They are mainly worn by graduates of prestigious universities when they get their diplomas. So gowns are clearly associated with something academic, scientific and serious.

And at the same time, they definitely look stylish, don't you agree?
Abundance of candles
In the great hall of Hogwarts, hundreds of candles float above the ceiling. And while in the book they are floating by magic, in the movie they are really tied on ropes, not drawn on computers.

I've written before about how candles are one of the main components of hygge. And the lights are clearly an important component of magic and enchantment. And the Harry Potter vibe.
Symbolism of faculties

Each of the four faculties has its own coat of arms, its own colors, and its own patrons. And all the objects that symbolize any of the faculties, whether Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Puffendum, are all incredibly stylish.

Seals, imprints, paintings, and so on.

And so many items with this symbolism have already appeared online, and so many photos of them, that it's almost unreal to distinguish them from the real thing! So authentic are the compositions.

Perhaps such an object is one of the main components of a photo with a real Hogwarts vibe.
Multiplicity of multiplicities
In photography there is a technique called "multiplicity". This is when a lot of homogeneous objects occur several times in one photo/in one frame.

And here we see a lot of such objects. Paintings, magic wands, broomsticks, books, potholders - there are many of them, they are homogeneous, but at the same time different.

All are detailed, you want to look at and examine. This, by the way, is a frequent technique in various films, and depending on what style such multiplicities will be, that's the atmosphere of the film.

Detailed showcases

We see the same details and trivia in the store windows and pubs. Both in fairy-tale Hogsmeade and in intimidating Cosmos Lane.

We want to move closer and examine every feather, every light fixture, every poster and spine of every book.

But the windows flicker quickly, and the little things you can catch only on still images.

But the overall feeling remains. And to think through each such shot so that they all add up to one special feeling is the decorator's task.
Calligraphy of letters
Have you noticed how the letters in the film are written?

Each line is a masterpiece. Its own slant, its own thickness of letters. Real calligraphy.
Owl feathers
And what do our young wizards write with, have you noticed? No ballpoint or gel pens. Only pens, only hardcore.

(Especially part 5. If you know what I mean.)

One more thing to add to the vibe.
Expensive needlework
Notice how expensive the family tree panel in Sirius Black's parents' house looks. It's probably handmade, every stitch here thoughtfully created with metallized threads, probably with gold added to it.

These are the kind of status items pureblooded wizards were supposed to have. In some way, they resemble the aristocracy of the 19th century - you don't see such things nowadays.
Detailed vintage
Notice all the items we see in the magical world. Probably no Muggle could order something like that on Aliexpress.

Because most of the things in the movie were created by professional decorators. It's as if they came into this world from an ancient wizarding book. And when every detail is magical, you get real magic.
The logic of the plot and narrative
Agree that the entire plot of Harry Potter is an incredibly logical and structured narrative. It's especially striking in the last few books that this entire plot turns out to have been that way from the beginning, rather than appearing over time!

And that's why, since there are no plot holes, we take this story so easily. And we wouldn't be surprised if it were true in the end.
The Possibility of Existence
And yes. We who grew up with Harry Potter waited every year for a letter from Hogwarts. So realistically written is that world.

And so much we want to believe that magic, postal owls, and an aesthetic school of magic with a special vibe are all real.