The Woman In Black, book cover

I was commissioned by Penguin Random House to design the cover for Susan Hill’s gothic horror, The Woman In Black. My design was shortlisted for an award by The Academy of British Cover Design.

While a Victorian feel was required,  the brief was quite open: design a beautiful typographic cover incorporating an illustrative motif.

One of the settings in the book is the ominous Eel Marsh House, which becomes surrounded and engulfed by dense fog from the marsh. I wanted to capture this scene and use the lettering to reinforce the swirls of fog. I explored various options where the title suspended in the air and swallowed under the marsh.

Between the letters I drew a line work filigree that depicts reeds, roots and key objects from the story; horse skull, wagon wheel and rocking chair.

Wood engraving was a popular illustrative technique during Victorian times and the cover adopts this style. The little notches, imperfections and texture create a warm, hand-made feel to further evoke the period.

My first draft (top image) has elaborate swashes in the title and in the author’s name which were toned down for the  final cover (last image) which has creepier root-like filigree.

 

 

My first draft of the cover with more elaborate swashes.

My first draft of the cover with more elaborate swashes.

Thumbnails exploring various lock-ups of image and lettering

Thumbnails exploring various lock-ups of image and lettering

Sketches exploring layout options of the lettering, suspended in the fog, surrounding the house and swallowed under the marsh.

Sketches exploring layout options of the lettering, suspended in the fog, surrounding the house and swallowed under the marsh.

Various house creepy house options.

Various house creepy house options.

The final cover with adjusted lettering and more creepy, root-like filigree.

The final cover with adjusted lettering and more creepy, root-like filigree.