Posted in Books, REVIEW

Guest Blog Post: Stephen Vosloo, Senior Designer of the Mosaic Bible (Tyndale House Publishers)

Bible2(It is a privileged to share below a guest post from Mr. Stephen Vosloo, the Senior Designer of the Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT.  On Friday, I posted my review of this Bible along with the announcement of a giveaway gift certificate for a copy of the Mosaic Bible.  To join in on the drawing, please leave a comment OR a question for either Mr. Vosloo or for Mr. Keith Williams, the editor. )

Guest Blogger:
Mr. Stephen Vosloo

An overarching theme for Mosaic is marrying the ancient heritage and rich diversity of our Christian experience with contemporary writings and thoughts. These concepts were consolidated into the idea of “ancient-future.” While not a new concept, it was a gutsy direction to pursue for a Bible project and spoke so eloquently to the vision that our authors and acquisitions teams had.

This ancient-future concept had to be expressed visually, and that’s where I came into the process. As a senior graphic designer at Tyndale, I was excited to help shape the visual identity of Mosaic from the early concept stage all the way through the final product. It’s my privilege today to be able to share a glimpse at what happened behind the scenes as we created Mosaic, and I thank you for this opportunity.

Mosaic was a huge project from the beginning. When you are staring down the barrel of a project that you know may take the better part of two years to complete, it can be a daunting task. Fortunately, I had a lot of help thanks to our fabulous design team at Tyndale. There is a beautiful synergy that happens when you throw a bunch of creatives in a room and ask them to take an idea to the next level. And while I was the primary designer for the devotional section of Mosaic, I received tons of valuable insights from my fellow designers that helped shape the final product.

Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade

Where did I start? I began by raiding our Bible libraries for inspiration on lettering, layout, and color. I also looked at a ton of  books and art that dated from the mid-18th century to the present. The research is always the most exciting part for me. That’s where I gather the creative resources, such as images, typography, writings, etc., for the creative “stew,” mashing them together into my subconscious and letting them “marinate” with each other. It’s critical to allow enough time for this process because these bits of inspiration will form into visual ideas that express what we want to say about the product. Research is the heartbeat of the creative phase, and it is from here that we move into the actual design phase.

Conceptually, we were breaking new ground in the marketplace, and it was important to create a look for Mosaic that would allow people to quickly understand how this product was different—and why that made it effective. So all the elements, from the small graphic icons, typography, and imagery to the paper weight and color, have been carefully chosen to reinforce the “ancient-future” concept and to ensure balance between aesthetics and functional integrity. One of the most effective ways we achieved this was using white (or negative) space as a key element in the design. This is not common in a Bible because space is a premium due to the length of the scripture text itself. But I couldn’t be happier that we made it a priority to integrate open areas into the design. The white space allows for meditation and reflective writing on the pages right along-side the content. It’s a vital part of encouraging people to engage with the writings, meditations, and prayers at a deeper level.

There were hundreds of other small decisions we made along the way where we weighed cost, time, aesthetics, function, and form that I won’t bore you with. They, in turn, all play into the final product that you end up holding in your hand. It’s our prayer at Tyndale that it will minister to your spiritual needs and meet you where you are at in your journey with God.

Search out a copy of this wonderful product and immerse yourself in all of its richness. You won’t be disappointed.

Stephen Vosloo
Senior Designer
Tyndale House Publishers

I’ve also attached a some of images from the [Tyndale] office. They aren’t directly related to Mosaic, but may serve as some visual interest to go along with the behind-the-scenes theme. [click to enlarge]

A Designer's Sanctuary
A Designer's Sanctuary
Designs in Progress
Designs in Progress
Creative Fuel
Creative Fuel

Posted in Books

Book Review Tour: The Holy Bible: Mosiac (& one to giveaway!)

TBiblehere is a lot of newness with this Bible . . . I learned some new things, and I’ve questioned some things.  Let me introduce you to The Holy Bible: Mosiac.

This is actually two books in one.  The first 340 pages (just over 1/3 of the book) is a a 52 week devotional section, based around the liturgical church year.  It begins with readings for Advent and Christmas and continues on with selections for Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and more.  With each weekly devotional is historical artwork which varies from photographs and paintings to mosaics, including the famous bread and fish mosaic from 380 AD.  Wk6.PerspectivesOnTheNativityThe devotionals also include suggested Scripture reading along with a highlighted verse.  This is followed by a meditation, many written specifically for this Mosaic Bible to follow the theme for that week.  Some weeks you will find this to be a hymn or a poem.  A unique part of this devotional section is that the editors put a collection of reflective content from every continent and every century of our Christian history, pulling the themes together, including writings from St. Augustine, Charles Wesley, and Henri Nouwen.  At the end of each devotional section is a whitespace, for note-taking, reflective thoughts or journaling.

The rest of this book is the New Living Translation of the Bible . . . 1319 pages, including a concordance and maps at the end.  This portion of the Bible has symbols to give references back to sections in the devotional portion.  The Bible has a center-column reference, with Greek and Hebrew word studies.  The margins on the outsides are wider than the center column, but not quite large enough to consider it a wide-margined Bible.  If you like to put a lot of notes in your Bible by the Scripture verses, this may limit you.

You can see these various sections of this devotional and Bible here and actually flip through numerous pages here (be sure to pull down the pages, in the upper right hand corner).

If you are wondering where the word “Mosaic” came from, here is what is stated in the beginning of this book in the “Mosaic User’s Guide”:

“Mosaics are curious things. Bits and pieces of stone and glass that on their own may be interesting, but only fleetingly so. Together, however, those pieces form images that move us in unexpected and profound ways. From the simplest forms to the most complex, it is the combined effect of tiles arranged in their diversity that brings about something much greater than the sum of its parts.

Mosaic is not merely the title for the Bible you hold.  It also describes its contents and our story as Christians, too.  . . . [A]s Christians, we are part of something much larger than simply the here and now. We are part of a mosaic–a patchwork of people, places, times, and cultures–that depicts one person: Jesus Christ.

The purpose of this Bible is to provide a way to encounter Christ on every continent and in every century of Christian history. … It is about the whole picture that emerges when all these pieces come together to form the beautiful mosaic that is God’s church.”

My Personal Pros and Cons

This is an intriguing Bible. I especially like some of the ideas of the devotional, with the history of  the church.   Not knowing many of the various authors throughout, brought concerns of not knowing where they came from or what they believed, which would take more research on my part to know.  Being the calendar changes every year, the devotional could not be dated within the book, but you can look it on on the Mosaic Bible website, and they have listed for each week what the reading should be. I would desire to have a print-out that I could possibly laminate and keep in this book for the year, rather than check back to the website.

I find the devotional part of the book very easy to read – great font, great background paper – making it very easy for these 40+ year old eyes to read.  The Scripture section, I found harder to read.  It is printed on the normal “tissue paper” type Scripture paper (is that what it’s called?) and the font is smaller than in the devotional.  The print shows through from the other side, making me concerned about my note taking bleeding through.

Coming from a conservative Baptist background, some of the “language” of creeds and other such terminology I am not familiar with, which does not mean it is bad.  So, I asked my pastor to give me his thoughts on this Mosaic Bible, and here is what he wrote to me after he looked through it for a few days:

My initial response is the Mosaic Bible is attempting to accomplish two things–be inclusive and second to attract a generation going more liturgical. The collection of mosaics could easily be bound as a broad church history overview rather than include it in such a fashion with the Bible. Obviously when you attempt to include such a wide span–geographically, socially, spiritually–you end up with some good–some not so good and some plain dangerous. One example would be part of an included quote from Pope John Paul II…'(Christmas) it is not just about commemorating the historical event”.   Well, quite obviously it is about that historic event of God becoming flesh that He might die for me! Anyway that’s my intial response–they named it accordingly Mosaic. Notice also that Mosaic is large font–Holy Bible is little [font]? Seems it is Mosaic before it is Bible.  And the inclusion of contemporary authors, etc. leans heavily emergent.

In accordance with the FTC regulations, I inform you that I received a copy of The Holy Bible: Mosaic directly from the publisher, Tyndale House Publishers, for review purposes. I review only books I have read, and only state my honest opinion of the book.

Now I can let you decide!  This might be just the Bible you were looking for.  On Monday,  October 26, 2009, Stephen Vosloo, the Senior Designer at Tyndale House Publishers and who designed the intereior of Mosaic, will be my guest blogger.  Both he and Keith Williams, the general editor of the Mosaic Bible, will be visiting my blog throughout the day to answer any questions left on my blog regarding this Bible.  You can leave questions either with this blog post or on Monday’s guest blog post and of those posts, one person will be chosen to receive gift certificate for one of these hard covered Bibles from your local Christian bookstore.  So, all you need do, is ask a question or leave a statement regarding this Bible . . . for the first entry, and for additional entries tweet, blog or FB about this and leave additional comments for each. Entries for submissions end Sunday, November 1, 2009 @ 10:00 pm and will be announced in the comment section on Monday November 2nd I will announce the winner of the gift certificate (which will be sent for no cost via regular mail within USA & Canada)

The entries for this giveaway have ended and the True Random Number Service picked entry #3.