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, Faith, Family, REVIEW

Book Review: Mosaic By Amy Grant (& one copy to giveaway!)

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
This post is in participation with The Ultimate Blog Party.

Ihave read this book, Mosaic, and had some of the same feelings before reading and after reading it as the blog reviewer below.  When I read her review, I could not have put it in any better words.  Kelly Kelpfer has granted me permission to reprint her review here.  Thank you Kelly, and thank you for sharing so eloquently and from your heart.

I was offered the opportunity to read and review Amy Grant’s new biography, Mosaic. Had it been in the bookstore, I might have picked it up, glanced through it and come away with a very different impression than I’ve developed from reading it cover to cover.

I haven’t been a rabid Amy fan. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen her in concert once and that was because I went to see Mercy Me and Amy opened for them. I purchased her Christmas CD at a garage sale. This information is not a slam in any way. I’m just sharing where I am coming from where Amy is concerned.

Driven to curiosity by the talk before, during and after her divorce from Gary Chapman I purchased Amy’s Behind the Eyes CD. The lyrics from several songs haunted me. As a survivor of a rotten marriage gone good, I felt compelled to write to Amy. Crazy as that sounds…who does that? But I did. I don’t remember what I wrote, other than to tell her it didn’t have to end in divorce. I wondered like much of the rest of the world why she thought God wanted her to be happy at the expense of her children’s pain.

I almost turned down Mosaic because of my thoughts and feelings. What if she showed no remorse, no awareness of the sanctity of marriage? What if she lightly dismissed the damage done to her children? How could I recommend this book? Then my daughter reminded me that I don’t like to sit in judgment of others and I love people who screw up daily, and that I have to look into the mirror and see behind my own eyes. I needed to give Amy’s book a fair reading.

I’m sorry, Amy.

Amy’s divorce is as much a symptom of America’s brand of diluted Christianity as it is a picture of our pathetic human weaknesses. Why should she, though in the public eye and ministering to thousands through her music, be held to a higher standard of holiness? A standard that a full half of professing Christian married couples can’t meet? I, myself, am still married only because God held me in place. Everything in me wanted to be divorced and free of the pain that my husband and I inflicted on each other.

Mosaic starts like a feel-good anecdotal “Chicken Soup” style of book full of sweet stories inspiring song lyrics which end each chapter. A section of names and events details Amy’s relationships with celebrities and treasured encounters with them.

Had the book been just this feel good celebrity stuff, I wouldn’t recommend it. But as the book progresses Amy begins to dig deep. The promotional quotes from Mosaic have been light and chatty, friendly and homey. What dug under my skin and into my heart was the poetic poignancy with which Amy described the events and people that have shaped her through much pain and loss. Those are the entries that contain the lyrics from some of the songs that haunted me from Behind the Eyes. Amy shares her thoughts on depression, faithquakes and the death of innocence. She left me feeling like I hadn’t been reading the words of a spoiled celebrity, but instead, hearing the confessions of a hurting friend.

Fame doesn’t save us. A good spouse, wonderful children, great friends, history, and money can’t save us. If we could each grasp how much we are loved by the Creator of the universe, maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to run away from Him to find our own way. We all grab for worthless bandages. Most of us don’t have the burden of the spotlight of fame to complicate our paths.

And now, I have one copy of  Mosaic to give away!  Tomorrow (Friday) I will be announcing the names drawn for each of the books that were reviewed this week, including this book, so you only have a short time to get your name in the comment section below!  As with the other books,  $2.50  towards shipping of this hard-covered book (within continental USA) and full amount needed for outside USA, it would be greatly appreciated.

This post and review are a part of the The Ultimate Blog Party, so come back again tomorrow for an update on the winners and the prizes “I” am hoping to win!