The Bible is a powerful and inspirational book, but it is also an ancient and massive document filled with dense text. In an effort to make the Bible easily portable, most publishers have opted to shrink the text into tiny fonts, fill the margins with word dense blocks and print the book on incredibly thin paper. This printing approach proves good for book transportation but bad for book readability. In a modern era, when you can now carry the entire Bible inside your smartphone, print versions of the book may no longer need to be lightweight and text-dense. In fact, they may benefit from a completely different print strategy.
For a young and modern reader, the traditional Bible print standards often are the antithesis of how they prefer to read. Millennials often delight in seeing beautiful Instagram-worthy photography, love minimalistic design featuring ample white space and are drawn to coffee-table publications like Kinfolk or Cereal.
Enter Alabaster — this Christian start-up is redesigning the Bible in a way that appeals to both Millennial aesthetics and reading patterns. Each book of the Bible is printed as a stand-alone publication and compliments the scripture with contemplative imagery and appealing open visual space. Alabaster Bibles are big books, intentionally designed to leave room for the Scripture’s poetry to breathe.
Alabaster is the passion project of designer Brian Chung who found faith in Christ while in college. As a new Christian, he was eager to read the Bible, but the dense text and lack of visual appeal left him struggling. Speaking to The Washington Post, Chung explained his challenge, “I didn’t want to read it.” The book didn’t connect with Chung’s artistic mind. “There were 20 pages before you actually got to Genesis. As an artist and designer and a reader, I was thinking, ‘This is not good design.’”
Chung wisely recognized that his struggle to read the Bible may be common. Partnering with a friend from Intervaristy also named Bryan Chung, the two designers set out to reimagine the Bible in a way that is modern and appealing to young readers. In 2016, they founded Alabaster and now offer gorgeous stand-alone publications of each of the Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs and Romans with prices starting at $24 per publication.
Orders are on the uptick, both via e-commerce and through wholesale channels. It comes as no surprise that one of the first wholesale vendors to sell Alabaster Bibles is Hillsong Church; a church that has always found fresh ways to connect ancient Christian themes with modern artistic expression.
For a young and modern reader, the traditional Bible print standards often are the antithesis of how they prefer to read.
We’re so eager to see what new publications Alabaster will release in the upcoming months and believe their reimagined Bibles will serve as powerful ways to connect modern readers to the timeless messages of God’s unfailing love.