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.