Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When our work is a Blessing

In our world of deadlines and production it is easy to lose sight of the importance of the products we create. Mixed into the rush of direct mail, business cards and brochures is the fact that our work has significance and meaning for its intended audience. An invitation to an event becomes the way a community connects. A program book becomes the one common element that an entire group of people follow and rely on for information; and the souvenir that someone will keep. In context, these pieces are no longer ‘ink on paper’. They transform into much more. 

I’ve been able to witness this transformation throughout my career. An easy example is just having finished printing diplomas for several of our academic clients. To the recipient the piece of paper they received is much more than 100# natural white stock digitally printed. It represents accomplishment and achievement and will likely be kept in a prominent place for the remainder of their lives.

I had the privilege last Friday night of participating in a prayer service to welcome the Sabbath using a prayerbook that we had spent the past 6 months designing, revising and printing. The Jewish Friday night service which welcomes the Sabbath is a beautiful and meaningful series of prayers and psalms that date back centuries. The goal of this version was to give everyone access to those prayers and psalms not only by offering Hebrew, English and transliteration but also in a bounty of graphic elements and additional readings interspersed throughout the pages.

Although the ritual is old, the prayerbook is very new and a reflection of our client, Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, Mass. The congregation has two beautiful faith quilts that were created by the community that adorn the sanctuary. We used elements of those quilt tiles on the pages of their new prayerbook. Additional readings from both its rabbis, Reb Moshe Waldoks and Rav Claudia Kreiman, along with writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Art Green, Rami Shapiro and others all represent the special spirit that exists at ‘TBZ’.

Friday night was very special indeed. To see a community coming together to celebrate the Sabbath using a book that we helped to create was deeply impactful and emotion filled. For me, the book was no longer an InDesign file nor ink on paper. It had transformed, as if by magic, by its very use and meaning — the profane had transformed to the sacred. 

Pages from Siddur (prayerbook)

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