As a design studio we care deeply about creating remarkable experiences. We labor over the details because we understand that the end product is simply the sum of all these small decisions. We are determined to create something truly beautiful, and we thought we’d use this page to bring you into the process.
Since these books deal with such a rich and meaningful narrative, we were interested in basing design concepts on the ideas, stories, and truths presented in the books themselves. We drew from the geometry of the tabernacle, the color of the materials, and the life and death of Christ in making our decisions.
To a lot of people familiar with these books, they have become known by their acronyms: PP, PK, DA, AA, and GC. In exploring design options for the different books, we became interested in elevating those acronyms in the design, so we created custom letterforms for each book.
Each letterform has been designed using the shapes found within the sanctuary. The Outer Court and Holy Place are rectangles using a 2:1 ratio; The Most Holy Place and Alter are perfect squares, and the Laver is a circle.
The Conflict Beautiful is being produced in two distinct color schemes—an elegant grayscale, hinting at the struggle between light and dark, and a sanctuary palette, a bold set of scarlet, purple, and blue.
In both instances, the books are organized using a chiastic structure, which was a very common literary device used throughout the Bible. Essentially, the most important content is in the middle with the content before building to it and the content after mirroring that process in reverse. So The Desire of Ages becomes the focal point in The Conflict Beautiful which is completely fitting considering it is all about the beautiful life of Christ.
The books measure roughly 9 inches tall by 6 inches wide. Small enough to hold comfortably for extended reading and large enough to provide generous margins.
Most editions of Ellen G. White’s books maintain the same page numbering as the original editions so that her work can easily be cited. Pick up any copy of The Desire of Ages, turn to page 350, and you can find this quote: “During His ministry, Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching”.
The ability to cite her work is extremely valuable, but it also places a lot of restriction on the design of the page, affecting typography, margins, line length, line height, font size, text block size, page size, and ultimately the readability.
To address this issue, we created a dual-page numbering solution. The numbers within the footer on the outside margin are the page numbers for The Conflict Beautiful, the numbers on the inside margin are the original page numbers and correspond to the page marker symbol within the margin. In this way we were able to design the page to create the best reading experience, while maintaining the ability to easily cite her work, or find a quote.
When it comes to book design, a really great typeface is one you don’t even notice. Your eyes glide across the page effortlessly moving from letter to letter, word to word, and line to line. This might sound simple, but designing a typeface that does all those things well is extremely difficult. After extensive exploration we decided to use Pensum Pro, a beautiful highly readable font family designed by TypeMates, a foundry located in Germany.
In a desire to maintain the same page numbering as early editions, many hardcover copies of the Conflict of the Ages are limited to using thin paper if they want the books to be relatively slim. By reflowing the text, we’re able to use a thicker paper—something that won’t wrinkle whether your AC dies or you take it on vacation to the tropics.
These books are being printed by Kösel in Germany. Kösel has been manufacturing beautiful books for over 400 years, and is the same printer that was used for the Bibliotheca project. On that note, Adam Greene, the creator of Bibliotheca, has given us a lot of great insight into his process and it leads us to be really confident with this. Kösel has been great to work with, and the mockups they’ve created for us are beautiful.
We designed a slipcase for The Conflict Beautiful, crafted out of solid sycamore, and designed to ensure the books are easy to remove, or replace, in the case.
Sycamore was selected because it reminds us of the story of Zacchaeus. And just like that humble tree was pivotal in helping him see Jesus, these amazing books by Ellen G. White are also all about giving us a more accurate and beautiful picture of our God.