The Bible Beautiful - Romans
A history-shaping text from the Bible, paired with visual imagery and thoughtful design for a beautiful reading experience.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, October 19 2018 3:00 AM UTC +00:00.
Alabaster Featured on
The Bible Beautiful
We have become a culture that deeply values beauty and is visually engaged. Anyone can take a photograph with their phone, we look at images more than we read books, and we associate credibility with well-designed things.
Aesthetics and thoughtful design are at the forefront of our culture. When done well these things have the ability to shape and change us. In the midst of this reality, we need to ask the question—how do we show that the Gospel is good and beautiful?
Bible design has remained relatively the same. There have been few attempts to integrate imagery, typography, and layout design within the biblical text to engage with our rapidly growing visual culture. Inspired by old master Renaissance artists, who looked at the Scriptures and created beautiful pieces of art to reflect their experience, we embarked on a similar journey—and asked ourselves, "What would that look like today?”
Romans: A Life-Changing and History-Shaping Letter
What does it mean to be Christian? What does it mean to live with each other in community? How does the Gospel transform us?
Romans helps answer these questions.
This life-changing and history-shaping text is ultimately about how the Gospel works, how it transforms lives, and how it impacts the world.
Romans is an incredibly beautiful and important book. To give some context—between 40AD and 50AD the Roman emperor had expelled the entire Jewish community, including Jewish people following Jesus, from Rome. Then, 5 long years later all of those Jewish people were allowed to return—and when they returned to the church in Rome it had moved away from distinctly Jewish practices for worshipping God.
The Church was divided as Jews and non-Jews argued about what it meant to follow Jesus in the context of their lives and cultural values.
Similar to the time period in the Book of Romans, we live in a day where the church is divided—from conversations about what it means to be evangelical, to issues regarding race, class, sex, politics, and gender. Fundamentally, these are conversations about how we should live in our common life together.
Art is powerful. It is a vessel that can both create chaos and steward unity. We respond to art on an emotional and spiritual level, and it moves us to rethink the way we go throughout the world and live with each other. It helps us learn more about ourselves, grow in community with others, and guide us towards hope.
Our hope is that the artworks and images, interwoven with scripture, will not only show you new experiences of God but also allow you to explore ways of embodying love, generosity, and togetherness with one another, no matter the circumstance.
Design matters. We create with the reader in mind—careful use of negative space, legible typefaces, and layouts that allow a thoughtful exploration between text and images.
Our approach reimagines the entire experience of the book. We create images that illuminate the themes and messages of the text, intentionally creating artwork that will help the reader engage scripture in a fresh way.
156 pages, lithographically printed on high-quality 70lb uncoated paper. 15 pt cover stock mixed with a soft-touch aqueous coating, for an experience that looks and feels beautiful.
Featured Artist and Photographer
- Makoto Fujimura, Author, Painter, Fuller Seminary Director of the Brehm Center
- Stephen Proctor, Founder of ILLUMINATE
What People are Saying
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Alabaster Products Design Aspects:
Our Design Process
Beauty and art—and how those things reveal the goodness of Jesus, is at the center of all that we do at Alabaster. It’s more than putting arbitrary photos next to scripture. It’s about the entirety of the book, it’s themes and messages, and intentionally creating artwork that will help explore those deep themes. It’s about how each individual image can help reveal God’s mystery and truth, and help us experience Him in a new way.
The practice of using imagery in spiritual discipline is actually an ancient practice, called Visio Divina—which in Latin literally means “sacred seeing”. It is a practice that has been utilized throughout the history of the church (early as the 4th century) and it entailed using imagery as a starting point for prayer, to contemplate deeper within scripture, and connect with God.
Theologian Thomas Dubay writes, “beauty is crucial to the human enterprise because it triggers wonder.”
Theologian, Edward Oakes, says that—”Beauty by its very nature always elicits a response: one simply cannot experience a form or a phenomenon as beautiful without responding. ”
Each individual image in our book has been created or curated to help us explore the spiritual truths of God through beauty.
Softcover Design Aspects
- 15pt cover paper (soft-touch aqueous coating)
- 70# text paper (uncoated)
- 156 pages
- 7.5in x 9.5in
Hardcover Design Aspects
- Cloth cover with dark gold foil type and dust jacket
- 70# text paper (uncoated)
- 156 pages
- 7.5in x 9.5in
- September: Launch Kickstarter
- October: Final Production of Romans
- November: Printing
- December: Start Delivering
We're using the New Living Translation for this project. We wanted a modern English translation, without sacrificing the true meaning of the ancient text.
- $20,000 - Printing, Shipping and Production
- $5,000 - Design
- $5,000 - Photography
- Creators: Bryan Chung, Brian Chung
- Lead Designer: Josephine Law
- Graphic Designer: Tyler Zak
- Head Writer: Geoff Gentry
- Operations Director: Willa Jin
- Marketing: Honest Media
- Soundtrack: Shawn Halim
- Cover Image: Carmen Leung
- Project Consultant: Alan Chi
Artists and Photographers
- Andrew Boyer, Cinematographer and Photographer
- Belinda Love Lee, Designer & Letterer
- Carmen Leung, Photographer
- Juan Fernández, Founder of Captainfer
- Ian Teraoka, Photographer
- Jacob Chung, Photographer
- Jonathan Martin, Designer and Photographer
- Kelsie Kikuchi, Photographer
- Lois Lee, Photographer
- Sophia Hsin, Editorial and Lifestyle Photographer
Alabaster Co. began late one night when friends Bryan Chung and Brian Chung were deep in discussion on creativity and God. Reflecting on the direction culture was taking toward visual images, innovation and design, an idea was born: create a brand passionate about fully exploring the intersection of creativity, beauty, and faith. Realizing that beauty is a foundational value when talking about creativity and God, they decided to name the company Alabaster, after one of the only times Jesus uses the word beautiful in the Gospels. In Mark 14:1-9, a woman breaks an alabaster jar of incredibly expensive perfume onto Jesus' head. Many people in the room scoff at her and say what she has done is a complete waste. But Jesus defends the woman saying, “leave her alone, why do you bother her? What she has done is a beautiful thing.” It is this complete act of sacrificial giving which Jesus calls—in the original greek—kalos, which literally means beautiful as a sign of inward goodness. We wanted to have this same level of intentionality and thoughtfulness as the woman did as we created Alabaster. Alabaster was officially launched on Kickstarter in October 2016 with its first project: Alabaster: The Bible Beautiful. After a successful launch, the books were printed and a conversation began. Since then, we’ve put the books on Amazon, made new projects and are planning for the future, all with the same passion: explore the intersection of creativity, beauty, and faith for the sake of a more beautiful human flourishing.
Risks and challenges
We already have a prototype and manufacturer secured for the printing. The main risk and challenge is shipping a product that meets the standards of excellence and beauty we have for this project on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter