Designing the Ultimate Dracula Experience

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Last year, Philadelphia-based boutique publisher Beehive Books launched a Kickstarter to bring literary lovers an interactive Dracula experience like never before: “You are not a passive observer. You are a scholar exploring this supernatural archive.” When it’s released in 2021, Dracula: The Evidence will deliver a briefcase full of letter correspondence, photographs, diaries, newspaper clippings, phonograph records and more, that make the saga of the centuries-old vampire more real than ever.

Beehive is known for its unique reading experiences, many of which, including Dracula: The Evidence, have been created in collaboration with Paul Kepple of Headcase Design. Headcase has published immersive projects from the worlds of Stranger Things, Twin Peaks, The Sopranos and many other properties.

“Dracula is a really interesting novel,” as Kepple explained in the campaign’s Kickstarter video. “It was probably the first one I can think of that was written as a collection of found materials.”

Also aiding in the process was Dacre Stoker, author and great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker. Together, this team of experts took the story of the undead and breathed utterly fresh life into it.

When the finished project is delivered, readers will be able to unfold a map of London and track the characters as they move through the story. Letters and photographs will give them a chance to become “supernatural archeologists.” Blueprints and additional maps will turn them into amateur detectives.

All told, from the aged briefcase that holds all of the documents to the beautifully bound journals and framed photos, the planned design is downright dazzling.

This year, the team is back with a new Kickstarter to bring the experience into hardcover artbook form, photographing and curating all the ephemera created for the set and pulling it together into a unified, 352-page clothbound presentation (one that at its base level is more affordable than the original full set). The edition includes 10 all-new photo illustrations created by Kepple for the book, and comes in multiple formats, including signed and numbered clamshell cases. Combos are also available with different editions of the original Kickstarter for Dracula: The Evidence.

Ultimately, as the team details, “This project takes our obsession with experiments in design and format and production to its furthest extent with a book that is not even a book—it’s a three-dimensional tangible experience, somewhere between a book and a game and a piece of interactive paper theater.”

Grab a copy here.