The New Testament is Given a Modern Touch with Joseph Novak’s Designs

In the first part of our Joseph Novak feature, we showed you his creative renditions of the Old Testament books of the Bible. He has managed to summarize and capture the essence of each section. In this part, we bring you an exclusive Q+A with the artist, as well as some of his New Testament Posters.

The Plus: Where do you find inspiration, apart from the Bible?
Joseph Novak:
I spend a good deal of my free time exploring design blogs and reading design magazines. I’m always curious what the current design trends are and how they communicate. There are so many amazing designers out there, I find myself surrounded by giants. In terms of general inspiration, music has always been an inspirational source. Bands like “The Avett Brothers,” “The Head and the Heart” and “Bon Iver,” but also Bach’s “Mass in B Minor” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” are all regularly played in my office while I’m working on design projects.

TP: What challenged you the most when compiling your Minimum Bible?
One of the challenges for me was maintaining the relationship with the minimalist style while also filling it with symbolic meaning. “The Minimum Bible” doesn’t really fit with the minimalist movement in New York in the Sixties. The Minimalists came out strongly against the symbolic value of the shapes on the page. A square was a square and that had meaning alone, it didn’t need to point to something larger. And here the formal Minimalist school and my work part ideological ways, for each of my images is necessarily symbolic. Each illustration gives either a summary of a structural movement of a particular biblical book or focuses on a particular aspect of the book’s primary theme.

TP: Can you tell us a little bit about the creative process involved?
After reading the text, a pencil sketch of ideas emerged and symbols would start to develop after that. A rough sketch was traced into Illustrator and a vector image replaced my pencil sketch. After that, I spent many hours moving shapes around on the canvas and trying to preserve the minimalist theme—which was really hard at times!