I grew up as a pastor’s kid in the 1980s and 1990s surrounded by a family that loved Ellen White and did its best to help me appreciate my Adventist heritage. However, many people along the way chose to use her writings as a vehicle for correction rather than as a resource to encourage and uplift.
Unfortunately, those interactions were frequent enough to cast a negative light on her work. As a result I viewed Ellen White as a negative person, and her books as another set of rules to be followed. Many years later, with enough time and distance, I was able to give her writings another chance and read them for myself. In doing so, I recognized how profoundly I had misunderstood her.
As I started reading through her books, I quickly discovered that she speaks so beautifully of Jesus and His love. I recognized that knowing what Jesus is like is so much more powerful than knowing what I shouldn’t be like. I realized that by not reading her for myself, I had missed out on something moving and compelling. Then I understood why so many Adventists treasure her writings and encourage others to read them.
This understanding sparked an interest in exploring how I, as a graphic designer, might also help share her writings with others. A few years ago I founded Types & Symbols with the goal of creating beautiful Adventist experiences. My business partner, Ivan, and I knew from the very beginning that along with client work we wanted to develop our own projects, one of which would be a redesigned Conflict of the Ages Series. We have been blessed to grow over the past few years, and with more clients and more employees, we’ve also had more time to finally pursue this vision.
We had the privilege of launching this project, which we are calling The Conflict Beautiful, at the 2018 ASI international convention. The response was encouraging. We had many people tell us that this is the edition of the Conflict of the Ages Series they’ve always wanted. We were overwhelmed with how positive the feedback was, especially from young people who said they were excited to finally have a set of these books that they could proudly display in their homes or give as gifts.
The Conflict Beautiful is not just a set of beautiful books; we want this edition to provide the best reading experience anyone will have with Ellen White’s work. We are laboring over the details of font choice, font size, margins, line length, line height, binding, paper, and cover materials to create books that are a joy to read and that reflect the beauty of the message inside.
We hope that through this new, premium-quality design people will understand what a treasure these writings are. We pray that as individuals read these books, they will ultimately acquire a greater understanding of the story of the Bible and God’s character of love.To learn more about the project, visit theconflictbeautiful.com.
Mark Cook is a graphic designer and founder of Types & Symbols.