Design of iPad Magazine

The Charmed Cauldron

iPad cooking magazine for the magical community.

  • Interaction Design
  • Visual Design
  • Cooking
  • Magic
  • Harry Potter

Interaction Design Fundamentals
Independent Project
Fall 2013 Carnegie Mellon University
Tools used: Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop

Click here to view all iterations of different pages.


The Charmed Cauldron was one among the first iPad magazines designed specially for the magical community. The cooking magazine provides a tips and tricks and recipes for delicious home cooking.

Project Scope

This 6 week long project was divided into two phases. In the first phase, the entire class split up into groups and conducted competitve analysis of different magazine genres. We then shared our research with the rest of the class. In the second phase, we individually selected a genre from all of our collective research and identified a target audience for whom we designed an iPad magazine.

I decided to make a cooking magazine for the magical world (specifically the one described by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series). My process consisted of constructing a back story, doing research, building personas, making a mood board, creating design elements, wireframes, generating content, and then building the pages of the book. We needed to design a cover page, a table of contents page, and four other pages demonstrating different types of content. In addition, I added pages to demonstrate specific interactions.

The Story

The first step in my process was to define a story that described how technology and iPads were introduced to the wizarding world. This was important, as the Harry Potter series was written based on a past timeframe. This story helped me guide my design as I was mindful of the fact that this was supposed to be the first iPad magazine for the magical community; a community which was still using scrolls and quills even in the late 20th century.
The story is as follows...

After the fall of the Dark Lord, a law was passed to encourage the adoption of muggle practices. Spearheaded by Arthur Weasley and Hermione Granger, the “Muggles are people too” movement was aimed at facilitating interaction between Magical Folk and muggles hoping to reduce the ‘anti muggle’ sentiments. Surprisingly, modern technology was the simplest for the wizarding population to adopt. The various magical aspects of technology seemed familiar to them, such as moving images and interactivity. Thus, iPads were some of the first aspects of the muggle world that became quite the rage in the wizarding world.


My research for this project consisted of studying references in the Harry Potter books, and fan literature about cooking practices in the wizarding world.


I developed two personas based on my research. I used these personas to determine the constraints and needs that my design needed to address.

Mood Board

I built a mood board to set the mood and capture the style of my design. I wanted to capture the magic and the quirkiness that accompanies it, as JK Rowling portrays it in her work. I also wanted to balance the feeling of old and new, so as to build a smoother transition from very old reading and writing practices to modern day digital information exchange.


I brainstormed about what information is important to this community while cooking, and how I could represent it. I thought about the needs of my personas, and came up with solutions to address these. I also brainstormed ideas for content, as I needed to write most of it. I also spent time thinking of possible titles.

Design Language

The next step was building design language. I used my mood board as a reference to build a color palette. I then designed a logo, and other icons to describe the details about each recipe. I used different colors to identify elements on a page that were clickable, and different typefaces for spells. I selected Garamond to be the typeface of the body text, as it is the same one that is used in the Harry Potter books.

Final Design

The magazine has two viewing modes - Browse mode and Cook mode. It is designed in landscape in order to fully support the Cook mode, which presents each recipe in the form of cards in a cover flow view. Each card consists of 3-4 steps. For the benefit of novice chefs, spells corresponding to each step can be viewed by tapping on the wand icons. Tapping anywhere else on the card will cause it to flip over, and display the recipe pictorially.

The button on the top right corner would bring up the navigation that would allow the reader to switch between articles. The glowing dots in middle of the top bar indicate which article in the magazine the readers are currently viewing.

Click here to view all iterations of different pages.