Watchman Nee Book Covers
Classic texts designed to look timeless,
yet relevant to today’s reader
Design firm: Daab Creative
Banking on the interest surrounding the Beijing
Olympics this year, Tyndale House Publishers rereleased
two books by Watchman Nee, a pastor who
lived in China during the 1930s. “While Nee’s books
continue to sell today, the publisher felt it was time
to redesign the covers for a contemporary audience,”
says designer Luke Daab of Daab Creative.
Daab began his career with Tyndale House
Publishers, working over five years in its design
department. “I owe them a lot. I cut my teeth there.
Because we have so much history, they trust me.
Many of the art directors I work with are those who
trained me when I fi rst started. They feel like family
rather than clients,” says Daab.
“In designing The Normal Christian Life and Sit,
Walk, Stand, I wanted to create book covers that had
the physical beauty of a work of art and the intellectual
beauty of a well-reasoned faith,” notes Daab.
“My goal was to create designs that would make
you feel smarter for having them on your bookshelf,
balance Eastern and Western aesthetics seemlessly,
and appeal to modern audiences through traditional
elements. Everything I incorporated was an attempt
to balance the culture, traditions and modernity of
Watchman Nee’s classic works.”
Daab selected the red-and-black color palette
because of its reference to both contemporary
Western designs and traditional Chinese artwork.
The text is set in Bodoni and is centered—descending
like text on a scroll. The lattice design elements
were chosen for their growth/life-giving forms, and
the layouts—modern in composition—are viewed on
top of parchment textures.
Designing the books provided Daab the
opportunity to work with his father-in-law Mike
Chang, who was born in mainland China and spent
his youth in Taiwan. “I had a strong desire to use
Chinese characters on the cover of each book. Mike
translated each title for me, providing them in large
JPEGs that I was able to live trace and manipulate
within Illustrator,” notes Daab.
Owner/principal: Luke Daab
Client: Tyndale House Publishers