The Bible as Minimalist Posters

3027229-inline-01-genesisWe love when designers use good graphic design to explain complex concepts in an easy-to-understand way. In fact, we prode ourselves on taking some of the most complex brands and products/services and creating functional, beautiful design to make them accessible to the target market.

That’s why we really love Joseph Novak’s project: distilling each of the 66 different books of the Bible into 66 “book covers.” Novak, a Presbyterian pastor who’s also a graphic designer, calls his Minimum Bible a “visual diving board” into the sometimes hard to navigate Old and New Testaments. The designs are Novak’s attempt to distill each of the Bible’s 66 books into a single, symbolic design.

For each of the books, Novak’s designs either represent the plot broadly or use a more symbolic tact to represent an interpretation of the Bible. For example: Novak’s poster for the Book of Lamentations shows the destruction od Jersualem as a reflection in the pupil of an eye. Jonah’s design shows the silhouette of a subaqueous liviathan with a man in his stomach. These are obviously direct represenations of the plots of the books.

But, for other books, Novak uses symbolic design. For the Book of Haggai, the design looks almost like a fractal. The design might symbolize the Babylonian prophet’s message to rebuild the Jewish temple. Or, it could represent the writer’s fractured writing style. Unlike the plot-driven graphics, the symbolic graphics are harder to figure out.

These differing styles aren’t an oversight by Novak. He wants his designs to encourage deep thought about the Bible. By creating designs that can be interpreted in multiple ways, Novak encourages contemplation and conversation.

For Genesis, for example, Novak’s design features seven nested circles. Obviously, many people will interpret these circles as representing the seven days God took to create Earth, with the final, red circle representing the day when man entered the word. But, Novak actually had a more complicated thought process behnd the design. He actually meant his design to represent the ripples mankind created in the “clear pool of a sinless world.”

Besides stimulating deep thought about the Bible, Novak also hopes his Minimum Bible project will inspire design awareness in the Christian community.

“I’d love for a publisher to recruit some designers and make a version of the Bible that offered some modern design—sculpture, print, and mixed media—to symbolize and interpret the biblical text,” he says. And, we have to agree! Most published versions of the Bible are sorely lacking in design thought and, with so much talent out there in the Christian community (like Novak) it seems like a shame. We hope that Novak’s project gets people talking and enocurages other spinoff religious design projects.

Check out more of Novak’s “book cover” designs here:

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