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Book cover for Kevin Jackson's 'Nosferatu'

Book cover for Kevin Jackson's 'Nosferatu'

This book cover design I have created was commissioned by BFI Palgrave Macmillan Publishing for their BFI Film Classics special edition. There eight limited edition books celebrating 'the dark heart of film'. 'Nosferatu' written by author Kevin Jackson dedicated to the first vampire film directed by F.W. Marnau, which became a true inspiration and foundation of the whole tradition of vampire films till nowadays.

The first requirement I set myself was to create a portrait of Nosferatu and use it as the main part of the design. To my mind, it was important to present the figure directly facing the viewer, because Nosferatu was the first ever image of a vampire to be seen on a cinema screen. Also, it was important for me to suggest the atmosphere of the silent film and old, distorted photographs, thus referring to the time in which the film was made. This is also why I used the greenish/grey palette and grainy pattern. Interestingly, most of the subsequent cinematic representations of Bram Stoker's Count Dracula character are both romanticized and eroticised, as in Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula. But Murnau's Nosferatu is represented as a creepy, human-like creature; tall, bony and distorted, with insane bulging eyes and utterly long, hooked fingers. The vampire is shown as a foreign body, as the infection that penetrated society, spreading the plague and fear. That is why I attempted to create a character that evokes aversion and repugnance, seeming foreign and isolated. The insertion of typography, with the sharp and prolonged elements, also suggests these same themes. I have tried to harmonies the whole design by contrasting crude and rough images with fine and delicate typography.