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Behind the Iron Curtain

Illustrations and layout for poetry book

Illustration of a hand holding a rose.

The Behind the Iron Curtain project consists of a poetry book, and a website that includes an online shop. Healthy Pixels created all visuals, web development, and the full brand identity.

View the Behind the Iron Curtain website


Sitemap, wireframe, web design and development, launch and ongoing maintenance.


50+ illustrations for poems, short stories and speeches

Book layout

Merged text and visuals into a legible, captivating and print-ready format

Illustration of a woman with her hair moving in the wind.

The background

Behind the Iron Curtain was initiated by a man serving a lifetime in prison in the USA. His goal with this project was never money or infamy, but to be a catalyst to stopping the type of crime he committed and brought him to prison. For this reason, all proceeds from the book are donated to World of Children and Military Veterans Against Child Abuse.

Defining the visual style

I was given full creative freedom to create something unique, impactful and emotional. Through experimentation and testing of different concepts, I came up with a creative expression that has had incredibly positive feedback from both the author and others.

Using a limited colour palette and focusing on high contrasts, the visuals communicate strong emotions, including rage and pain – a common theme throughout the book and the website.

Many of the visuals also experiment with the human body, which is another common theme.

A man near a cell door screaming in range.
A hand on a man's bare chest.
Illustration of a Phoenix in black, red and orange.

Putting the layout together

Featuring a mix of poems, short stories and speeches, the book is divided into four parts. Each text has an accompanying illustration intended to further set the mood for the text’s message.

As the book was intended for print, we chose a serif font – commonly used in print production. Although each text and accompanying illustration together create a harmonic layout, the copy has been laid out in an 8 column grid, following a strict margin system for consistency.

Get your copy here
Pages from the Behind the Iron Curtain book.


The accompanying website was created as a platform that allows prisoners be part of making amends for the damage done by their crimes. The site serves two main purposes: post the author’s work (essays, poetry, memoir and a blog), and to raise money for victims of crime.

To sell the book, we have also built a webshop.

Devices displaying the responsive website for Behind the Iron Curtain.

Social Media Presence

As of February 2024, Behind the Iron Curtain is only available on Instagram, but we are exploring other platforms. However, the Instagram profile is intended to bring more traffic to the website and complement the overall visual style.

Phone displaying social media presence for The Unforgiven.

Why Behind the Iron Curtain?

Behind the Iron Curtain is the perfect Healthy Pixels client because of the overall project goal: reflecting on the author’s life and trying to understand what led him to make certain choices, hoping to prevent others from making the same mistakes.

While I acknowledge the author’s incarceration, it is important to note that Healthy Pixels does not condone or support any form of illegal activity. As a design agency committed to making the world a better place, my role was to translate the raw and honest texts into impactful visuals that evoke emotions in the readers.


Monika's work on my book's illustrations, its layout, and my website has been nothing short of phenomenal. The graphics are superb, and I couldn't be happier with the results. The moment I saw the first proofs, with 'Silence' exceeding my expectations by far, I was thrilled.

Working with Monika on these projects has been an absolute joy. She's an awesome artist, and seeing my words come to life through her art has been a true delight.

The illustrations capture the desired effect perfectly, and the website is gorgeous! Monika's talent and dedication have made this project a resounding success, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I'm incredibly thankful for her hard work.

—The Unforgiven, Author of Behind the Iron Curtain

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