“Religions must begin to see graphic design not as an expensive luxury or an unnecessary frivolity but as a steward of goodwill. Of course, design with no strategic context or no immediate relevance may be experienced as superfluous or meaningless. But when the best plans are laid and the task at hand involves communicating, graphic design is the medium through which the resulting messages will likely take root.”
I’m going to admit something; I’m not a big fan of Christian non-fiction. So when I heard I was getting a copy of Graphic Design and Religion, I wasn’t that excited. Then it came in the mail. I opened the box, and it was two pounds of pure beauty. I flipped through the pages, and I couldn’t wait to dive in. When I finally got the chance, I wasn’t disappointed.
Author Daniel Kantor takes you from the illumination artwork of the 14th century to the modern-day world of graphic artists. His insight is magnificent, showcasing his design work with religious organizations without ever trumpeting his own knowledge or prowess. He touches everything from branding, desktop publishing and everything in between en route to arguing for the importance of the graphic designer in contemporary religion. And every page of text is accompanied by examples of great work in the theater of graphic design for religions organizations.
For him, design is both an art and a craft, much more than corporate logos and marketing strategy, and religions have the opportunity to claim the skill for the sake of beauty and righteousness. It is the avenue religious organizations must use to help connect individuals with the divine.
He leaves no stone unturned as he provides examples of excellence in design from the 14th century through the 21st century. Each page follows a template based on the golden ratio, and he even explains his choice of a typeface for the book’s copy. He looks at historical ventures into art and beauty from the illuminations of early manuscripts to the reasons for the design of Russian Orthodox churches.
So who would I recommend this for? Anyone. It is perfect to challenge and encourage those friendly to design, and it can open minds of those who are less hospitable to design as an art form. I can’t recommend the book highly enough, and I think if this could get in the hands of everyone who is involved in the design process (or church work in general), the church would see leaps and bounds in the realms of marketing, design and beauty.