NWYM 2016 Theme

The Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends—a regional body of Quaker meetings—asked me to visualize the theme for their 2016 annual meeting. The theme for 2016 was a quote, “Christ plays in 10,000 places,” taken from a Gerard Manly Hopkins poem. The scriptural focus for the sessions was Ephesians 1:10 “Bringing all things in heaven and on earth together under one head—Christ.”

Christ plays in 10,000 places hand lettering

This year there were expected to be difficult conversations and tense business sessions tied to how people in the Yearly Meeting interpret the Bible, particularly when it comes to human sexuality. The idea for the theme was supposed to point people back to weightier more central tenets of a shared faith, with an aim to center on what unites rather than divides.

I chose to letter the key words “Christ” and “10,000” in a bolder weight, emphasizing the common center and diversity. Using a cursive hand for “Christ” underscored the interconnectedness and unity the word carries.

The remaining words were set in a monoline sans serif with a skeletal basis in the script used for “Christ.”

Drawing the words on a diagonal baseline added a feeling of action and playfulness. Using the starburst lines and dots added to that feeling as well, but they also had a larger purpose. The lines and dots I thought of as straight pins, like pins on a map. So they represented 10K places, but all of the lines pointed inward, putting the focus on a shared center, the implication being that the center is the word with the greatest emphasis: Christ. Then I used a multicolor palette for the dots in different sized and different length lines to represent diversity. This visual also reinforces the message of Ephesians 1:10.

In addition to the lettering I put together a poster for the event, and gave the YM communications department visual guidelines to use with other materials for the event.