Advocates, the second study in the Journey series by Awana Youth Ministries. This series includes a leader's manual, small group discussion guide, student study, and condensed study or "essentials." As a designer I get to shape the experience of the student and leader. I enjoy this challenge of structuring the text, art, shapes, and lines in a way that will guide the user on a visual journey through the curriculum.
One question I ask myself early in the process is: How will the artwork of this study reflect both the voice of our video content expert as well as the study’s written content? What core concepts need further support through the visual explanation of an illustration?
In this information packed study, the solution came from the layering of visual information on the illustrations themselves. As you see the different artwork for each unit you’ll notice the layering of words, patterns, and even equations.
For the "Science" unit the challenge was: How do you depict a topic as broad as science or universe without stereotyping or using obvious overused imagery? I landed on this more abstract motif of colored smoke. It could be an element, something under a microscope, or mixing chemicals.
Later in the book I used image shifts to convey a sense of the word being addressed. For example in the Beauty lesson the image is flipped and reflected within itself, the idea here being that if creation is beautiful it is because we are a reflection of a Creator's beauty. This lesson helped catalyst the rest as these perspective shifts carry throughout. That’s often how the process worked for this book. I found my strongest concept and built the rest of the unit off of that.
Further through the book we look at historical evidence. These illustrations are all about helping students understand some context for where this evidence has been found or the places events took place. In texts you have the context of the desert and an image of a cracked wall overlaid with actual texts from the dead sea scrolls being revealed underneath.
Looking to the next lesson, archaeology, I found different blueprints on the national archives of ancient temples Jerusalem that I could extract and layer within the art.
But as students transition into the unit on evil they’ll feel a shift in tone through the use of grayscale which I chose to use as a means to emphasize the weight of these topics.
For the lesson, "Falsehood," I drew inspiration from the artist MC Escher. His work often contains many illogical scenes such as staircases that go no where or doors placed in ways that make little sense. With this idea in mind I allowed the type to interact with the structure behind it, but in a way that does not actually make sense the longer you look at it.
In the final lessons, you'll notice a stark contrast from the previous "evil" lessons visually. Color and energetic compositions move the students into themes of outdoor exploration: searching for questions, diving into challenges. It also is a lead into our next book in the series, Witnesses, which is visually upbeat and energetic.