A little over a year ago Mark Cook and I founded Types & Symbols, a design studio crafting Adventist experiences for the church and its ministries. Mark previously ran a design studio called Thesis, Inc. for eight years, where I worked for some time, and where we had the chance to begin an ongoing conversation about design and the church.
At Thesis, like at many studios, we used strategy and aesthetics in the service of our clients’ bottom line, and while we did great work for great people, we often wondered about the possibility of using the methods of design in the service of Truth. It had started to seem to us like too often our church was lacking that rigorous, iterative, design process. Many Adventist experiences, from Sabbath morning to discipleship to stewardship to study, seemed severely under-considered, and a few-too-many external efforts didn’t appear to understand their context or their audience. We began to feel that though our church had such a beautiful message, it didn’t always communicate that beauty appropriately.
And let me be clear here: Jesus is the most beautiful thing.
The good news of the Kingdom of God, the three angels message, the truth that God is love—all of that is already beautiful and it doesn’t need anything of our limited human abilities to make it more attractive or appealing.
What we were starting to feel was not that things should look or seem better. What we were starting to feel was that the lack of thoughtfulness was getting in the way of the Truth.
Through these discussion, we realized that we wanted to help elevate the quality of design in the church to better express the enduring beauty of the truth that we share, and we started to see an opportunity for a design studio that would craft well-considered, thoughtful experiences for the Adventist church and its ministries. So we tried it out. And it’s been a great year so far.
We’ve had the chance to work with some great organizations and ministries that really value design—partnering with the team behind Hope Trending, the SONscreen film festival, the Adventist Review, and Your Story Hour to name a few. With a strong emphasis on strategy, we’ve used our capabilities in print, interaction, and motion design to create compelling work, with the ultimate aim of sharing the beautiful news.
And after a good year, we are now growing, taking on bigger projects, and transitioning into an exciting new phase for the studio. As we go through this process, we wanted to document and share some of the ideas, observations, and projects that we are working on, and we invite you to come along.