New World Byzantine Studios donated new banners for the Orthodox delegation to the annual March for Life, which took place on January 22nd in Washington D.C. The project began when members of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary expressed a desire for attractive new banners that would project the character and dignity of Orthodoxy. Andrew Gould designed and made them in the form of liturgical banners with high-quality maple poles and fittings. The canvas is digitally printed in red ink with graphics in the style of old liturgical books. One banner bears an icon of the Theotokos adapted from a seventeenth-century wooden printing block from Mt. Athos. The other banners include hand-drawn text and various styles of crosses. The bold graphics in red bear an appropriate resemblance to medieval military banners.
The five banners were carried by members of the seminary, and were seen by hundreds of thousands. It is hoped that they gave an impression of beauty and quality at a huge and diverse event, reflecting well upon Orthodoxy before many who have little familiarity with it.
Thank you for this labor! Well done!
Glory to God!
They almost look like processional banners. Beautiful.
Beautifully done and for a very worthy cause.
God bless you.
Signage is an important mode of communication. Andrew’s work, as usual, is yeoman, with attention to details that gets a subtle message across with the overt one.
Andrew shows us that the language of type can be used to convey the Orthodox sensibility just as precisley as construction technique and chant style.
Many authors include notes at the end of their volumes describing the typographic font used to render their work. It’s not a trivial matter to them, nor should it be to us. When we design signs for our churches, we can take full advantage of the signage medium to convey Orthodox theology of Divine craftsmanship of the physical realm and its relevance in the economia of salvation. I think type masters like Eric Gill understood this, and so should we.
Here in Los Angeles, there is a street where several letterpress shops stand in proximity. Some make use of their own industry to advertise their presence with examples of their work: bold linoleum block prints arranged by hand and pressed onto card stock in attractive colors. Their work approaches the distictiveness of Hatch Show Print in Nashville – and they aspire like Hatch to convey a lively, rough & tumble aesthetic for musical and dramatic presentations. Yet another letterpress shop’s front is covered by a large laser-print banner conveying nothing of the handiwork that goes on inside. Now which letterpress would you hire?
As Orthodox Christians in a marketplace of religions, we do well to take a lesson from the letterpress shops.