A Fresh New Look for The Bible

  • Fonts in Use
Fonts in Use | Yves Peters | October 3, 2008

We’re doing a little balancing act today. As we’re barely a month away from the American elections, it was to be expected that politically charged subjects might pop up, even on a primarily type-oriented blog. We are ultimately part of the world. So we thought it would be a sound idea to post two entries with different world views one after the other, to prevent people from accusing us of any bias. ;)

UK publishing house Hodder & Stoughton have published a new paperback edition of the Bible with a remarkable cover designed by Crush Design & Art Direction Ltd. On their website the Brighton based creative agency explains:

“We were set a tough challenge with this brief to create a fresh new look for The Bible and make it a best selling summer read. Our illustrations made this book the summer’s must have accessory for any non card carrying Christian.

Crush was formed ten years ago in Hoxton, London and relocated to Brighton in 2001, but their client-base remains primarily in London and overseas. Founder Carl Rush attributes their success to being “a small company with big ideas and a great working atmosphere; we have music playing, good vibes and work bloody hard putting in long hours”, he admits. Crush is made up of five designers and illustrators working for clients that span TV, music, publishing, advertising and packaging. Their illustration agency AgencyRush got them the commission from the religious division of Hodder & Stoughton.

The idea behind this edition of the Bible was to encourage people who might never have owned a Bible to feel comfortable buying a copy. Whether or not you believe in its content, you can’t deny its significance – even in today’s world – yet many people would probably be reluctant to buy a more traditional looking Bible. Eventually 4000 copies were sold; the booksellers liked the innovative approach and seemed very happy to stock the Bible. Crush experienced a fantastic reaction from the public sending them e-mails, asking where to get the book and commenting on how strong the cover is.


The complete cover illustration without any typographical elements (click the image for a full resolution version).

The inspiration for the cover illustration came from the back cover copy lines. Carl Rush considers them one of finest write ups he has seen, and would certainly make him interested enough to read the book. The text mentions “Mankind’s poisoning of a beautiful world” and asks “The cause of wars and intolerance, or the most important book ever written? How well do you know the bible?” So the idea germinated to conjure up a really contemporary image of the Garden of Eden. On the flip side of the image Crush tried to illustrate the possible “poisoning and destruction of a beautiful world”. Therefore the illustration shows Adam and Eve fat with the overindulgence of a consumer society gone out of control. The trees have died from pollution and skulls illustrate the destruction of the animal kingdom.

Carl Rush admits that the question he heard the most was: “How did you get away with this design?” The studio proposed three visuals and the client picked Adam and Eve – it’s as simple as that. They didn’t make Crush change a thing. Indeed – as unbelievable as it may sound – there were no corrections. Crush just put some more detail into the image and polished it. Unfortunately they didn’t get to add the type as it was taken care of by the publisher’s in-house art department. Carl told that if it was up to him he would have kept a very simple sans serif, so he’s not sure what font they used.


Detail of the cover illustration
The cover is an arresting design. The first thing that hits you are the glowing colours and the surprising vertical division in a positive and a negative mirror image. The illustration style is an unexpected blend of naive art and information design reminiscent of the pictograms developed by Otl Aicher for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Examining the illustration up close reveals a number of intriguing details begging for interpretation. Crush definitely succeeded in what they set out to do – the eye-popping cover looks fresh and inviting. And even if some people may dismiss it as eye-candy, it is damn good candy, and a very effective design.

Via FontBlog.

18 Comments:

  1. Fontblog.de writes 58 words and gets 55 comments, you write +700 words an get not a single comment. I guess there’s matching quote from the bible for a shame like that. Just can’t cite it ; )

    Posted by MiSc on Oct. 8, 2008
  2. Or maybe I already wrote everything that needed to be said on the subject so there’s no need for any comments? :D Seriously, thanks for commenting. I guess we still need to build our readership. :)

    Posted by Yves Peters on Oct. 8, 2008
  3. MiSc – Remember that Fontblog has been around for many years and has a loyal following of active readers throughout the German-speaking design community. And deservedly so! FontFeed is young yet, sharing the scene with hundreds of other design blogs.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Oct. 8, 2008
  4. Well, if it serves any purpose, I’m a “since the first day” reader of this blog, which I consider to be the best in its gender among my rss reader.
    Will be posting more frequently if it helps!
    Thanks!

    Posted by Pedro on Oct. 17, 2008
  5. I like the visuals (and complete covers) of this ‘new’ Bible soooomuch!
    I’ve at least five Bibles (in Dutch and Eglish), and especially the inside I love.
    God’s Grace is for you all too, by the sacrifice of Jesus!
    Please accept this now, to be born-again -and forever changed: from inside out.

    Posted by Bert Boland on Nov. 12, 2008
  6. The cover is really nice, but why do Adam & Eve wear fig leaves BEFORE the Fall of Man? It seems the designer didn’t know the story he was illustrating, doesn’t it?

    Posted by Zosia on Nov. 18, 2008
  7. Woohoo, very perspicacious, Zosia! =^O

    Posted by Yves Peters on Nov. 18, 2008
  8. wow. i want more illustrations. of the rest. like moses on the mountain.
    ive seen similar things. colorful bible illustration. wow wow!

    Posted by Ariel on Nov. 24, 2008
  9. Very cool inspiration leads to very hip design… I like it!

    There’s ANOTHER fashion-y Bible out there now (gasp!) called Bible Illuminated. Creepy cover, I think, but a WEALTH of cool imagery on the inside.

    Posted by Kevin on Nov. 25, 2008
  10. If I ever had to turn to religion, could this be it?
    No, I’m sorry, I really don’t think so. I would prefer an air of the eternal, serious and – yes – boring. Not some flippy-floppy contemporary ironic take.
    The Bible Illuminated is a stinker btw.

    Posted by fredrik on Nov. 27, 2008
  11. That’s a great cover design, I have to say!
    11 comments now! :D
    I think I need to expand my readership, too haha.

    Posted by LeMelon on Dec. 5, 2008
  12. Most youth know what the bible is. Prettying it up isn’t going to do much. Maybe making it more readable would probably be a better option. Start with the New Revised Standard Edition (one of the most readable and accurate editions ever made), one that’s more honest (include side notes that give multiple different interpretations of various passages, so they can think about them themselves), and get rid of the whole ‘chapter-verse’ format. The bible wasn’t written in chapters and verses, and separating it out like that causes people to read stuff in parts, often missing the larger stories.

    Also, parents may dislike this idea, but the younger crowd would probably love it. Many teenagers have the urge to rebel, and when guided, this can be a great force for positive changes. A lot of dogma out there actually goes against scriptures at some point. Bring extra attention to bible passages that specifically counter existing dogma. Not only will this greater spark the reader’s interest, this will also engage the minds of the readers, and help Christianity improve itself in the long run.

    Posted by Me on Jan. 11, 2009
  13. That’s a pretty sweet cover. It has a sort of simplified Ben the Illustrator flavor to it.

    Posted by Maciel on Jan. 15, 2009
  14. So cool!

    Posted by Best on Jan. 21, 2009
  15. Yes, it’s true, I know!

    Posted by Pastori on Jan. 21, 2009
  16. Nice post =)

    Posted by Popcorn on Jan. 21, 2009
  17. It’s a fantastic cover. Great to see such interesting work. And I love reading about the story behind the design. I think the font used for the title fits very well. I hope Carl Rush is pleased with it, too.

    The sharp cover design would certainly make me pick it up in a bookstore and flip the pages to see if there were any more illustrations. I call myself a strict atheist, but I would be more inclined to buy The Bible looking like this. What a great job.

    Posted by Cathy R in Melbourne on Feb. 24, 2009
  18. Thank you for all your comments.
    Carl

    Posted by Carl Rush on Oct. 8, 2009

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