Thinking Out Loud

March 17, 2012

Books of the Bible Summarized in Poster Form

Consider today a trip to the art gallery.

It is, increasingly a visual world. In a world of icons and images; a world of micro-blogging and short attention spans; a world where a picture replaces a thousand words. None of this is lost on Jim LePage, a guy who works in art and graphic design at Greg Boyd’s church in Minneapolis, MN.  Ergo, the Word art project.

He explains how the project got started:

In the past, I’ve tried an approach like, “starting today, I’m going to read my Bible for 20 minutes every day.” While I may stick with it for a week or a month (sometimes even longer), inevitably I stop because I have no self-discipline for that sort of thing. I knew I didn’t want to try that approach again so I tried to come up with a new strategy that would work for me.

I began by thinking of things that I really like and want to do. One thing that kept coming up was design. So I decided to try and combine my love of design with my desire to read the Bible more.

It’s important to understand what the Word project is, and what it isn’t:

Basically, Word was a series where I created original designs for each book of the Bible. Before each design, I spent time researching the book, finding out the themes, historical context, weirdest stories, etc. I also scanned through parts of the book looking for a passage or story that could translate into a cool design. Each design isn’t meant to completely represent the book, rather it is merely based on a passage from the book.

It’s probably just as well that Jim resorts to this type of media, because in trying to verbally summarize a book like Nehemiah, illustrated above, things get a little bizarre:


The book of Nehemiah covers the same time period as the book of Ezra. The Israelites just got the get-out-of-jail-free card from their Babylonian captors and head back to Jerusalem to rebuild their life. As we saw in Ezra, they are coming back to Jerusalem tired and battered. While Ezra seemed to emphasize the journey back, Nehemiah focuses rebuilding their city and community.

I’m sorta like that one guy in that one movie

When the Israelites get back to Jerusalem, one of the first things they set out to do is rebuild the wall around their city. But while they be rebuildin’, their neighbors be hatin’. The folks that live nearby keep trying to stop them from rebuilding the wall. Now it doesn’t say exactly why they were so upset that the Israelites were rebuilding their wall, but that’s not gonna stop me from figuring it out. You may not realize this, but I’ve got some sweet detective skills. I’m sorta like that one guy in that one movie where he figures out a bunch of stuff. Watch and learn suckas…

The Israelites were attempting to rebuild their wall. The Wall is a famous album by Pink Floyd. Pinky and the Brain was a cartoon about two mice. Mice eat cheese. There are many different kinds of cheese including swiss. Switzerland had a dictator named Napoleon. Napoleon ended up on an island. An island is the main setting for the TV show Lost. Lost stars Matthew Fox. And guess what the anti wall builders say in Nehemiah 4:3?

What they are building—even a fox climbing up on it would break down their wall of stones!

That’s right, suckas! The Israelites enemies didn’t want them to rebuild the wall because they were afraid that might bring about the wrath of TV star Matthew Fox! Party of fists, baby! I know, I know, it all seems so clear now, you’re wondering how you didn’t see the connection before. You’re welcome.

And you thought The Message was loosely translated…

You may purchase actual posters of the designs or digital files and if you like his style, you’ll see more things on his blog. Pastors and church webmasters might also want to look at the icons he produces for sermon series at Woodland Hills.

…And apparently, this isn’t the first time we’ve featured Jim’s work here. Getting ready to run this today, I discovered we’d mentioned these back in August 2010, where we ran two other designs, though I don’t think the project was complete at that stage.


September 19, 2009

Don’t Judge a Book By Its 2,900 Covers

Rick WarrenAs far as the book industry is concerned, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is the number-one, all-time, best-selling, non-fiction hardcover book in history. Period. So you can see why everyone is excited about the November release of The Hope You Need (Zondervan).

Well, not everyone. Certainly not at the blog, Church Marketing Sucks — yes that’s the name of it and don’t laugh, it was recently rated the 11th most popular Christian blog.

Their point of view, as outlined in this post, concerns Rick Warren’s decision to open the book jacket design up to a $5,000 competition, what graphic designers refer to as “spec work.”

Unfortunately, it’s not such a sweet deal. For the hundreds of designers who spent hours of time on your project, it’s a total loss. These kinds of projects communicate that their work is of little value.

As a double whammy, it’s not a very sweet deal for you, Rick. The quality of work you get is going to be sub-par … because the designers didn’t have the benefit of a working relationship with you the client where they could be privy to all the ideas, expectations, insights and everything else that goes into making a creative project work. In a nutshell: You’re not getting the best work because you’re not valuing the worker.

While the mechanics of getting a book to press don’t often register with readers, you really should read the whole article, and if for some reason you can’t, then you really MUST have a look at the 2900 contest entries.* You have to wonder why, given the success of its predecessor, a book that is this important is being put through this bizarre tendering process.

I can guarantee you’ll never look at a book cover the same again.

porpoisedrivenporpoisepurse driven

*That’s about 2,946 as of the contest closing.  Entries will remain posted online at the linked site until October 2nd, 2009

~from the blog, Christian Book Shop Talk

August 4, 2009

Wedding Bell Blues, Pop, Rock and Classical

Filed under: Church, marriage — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:14 pm

wedding invite largeI found this wedding invitation embedded in a picture frame.   Dayspring was advertising a 3-panel  frame that would hold three pictures, but they were trying to show that there were other possible uses for the middle frame.  (Apologies for the focus, but it was really small in the original.)  As I looked at this, I wasn’t sure if I liked it from a creative design viewpoint, or if I liked it from the “church occasion presented a little outside the box” viewpoint. But I also wasn’t sure if I liked it at all, or if it looked too much like a movie poster or a ticket to a baseball game.   What do you think?   Does a wedding invite always have to be gold embossed printing of flowing script, or is there room for something completely different?    Or how about this one:  What one thing that was part of your wedding  would you do differently if you had it to do over again?

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