Our goal with The Conflict Beautiful was to create a beautifully designed, expertly crafted, NKJV edition of Ellen White’s Conflict of the Ages series—to make books that are a joy to read and match the beauty of the words inside.
The design process involved months of exploration and revisions and the following provides an overview of some of our favorite details.
Monograms and Color Arrangement
The Conflict of the Ages series covers the story of the Bible—the richest and most meaningful narrative there is. Because of this, we were interested in basing design elements on the ideas, stories, and truths found within the books themselves.
Among those familiar with Ellen White’s books, they are often cited by their acronyms: PP, PK, DA, AA, and GC. In light of this, we decided to design monograms for each book and discovered the shapes found within the sanctuary lent themselves well to custom letterforms. The Outer Court and Holy Place are rectangles using a 2:1 ratio; the Most Holy Place and altar are perfect squares, and the laver is a circle. These shapes were stacked together to establish the underlying grid that was used in the creation of each monogram.
The color arrangement of the covers is based on the concept of a chiasm, a biblical writing device in which the most important element is nested within mirroring elements. For The Conflict Beautiful, that focal point is The Desire of Ages.
Original Page Numbers
Most Ellen White books maintain the page numbering found in the original editions, making her writing easy to cite. Turn to page 350 in any copy of The Desire of Ages, and you will find this quote: “During His ministry, Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching.” This is extremely valuable, but it also restricts the design of the page, affecting typography, margins, font size, page size, and, ultimately, readability.
A Custom Symbol
To address this issue, we created dual-page numbering. The numbers in black along the bottom of the page are the page numbers for The Conflict Beautiful; the numbers in gray are the page numbers in the original editions of the books. The symbols in the outside margin are page marker symbols that show the beginning of the original-edition page listed in gray type at the bottom of the page. The page marker symbols indicated the beginning of the first complete paragraph of that new page; to look up or cite a passage from a subsequent paragraph, simply count the paragraph breaks that come after the symbol.
The editorial process for converting the KJV to NKJV was led by Tim Lale and involved a team of expert editors and proofreaders.
The intent was to preserve the integrity of Ellen White’s original ideas at all levels, from the chapter level down to the individual words. The Conflict Beautiful reads in an almost identical way to the original editions.
The New King James Version (NKJV) is quoted in place of most King James Version (KJV) Bible quotations. KJV is maintained where NKJV obscures an important word or idea in Ellen White’s writing or NKJV wording would require a change to Ellen White’s words.
Strict guidelines were used to make select changes to individual words. Most changes had to meet the following criteria: the word is archaic and unfamiliar, and the meaning of the word has changed from its meaning in the nineteenth century. A small number of inconsequential archaic words were given an updated substitute to improve the reading experience.