Designing A Lineage of Grace, Special Edition

September 17, 2018


In the piece below by Tyndale designer Julie Chen, discover how the cover design and artwork for the new special edition of Francine Rivers’s A Lineage of Grace was created.

Having the honor to redesign Francine Rivers’s A Lineage of Grace as a gift edition was like coming full circle, as I designed the original set of novellas. In brainstorming the concept for the cover, I made a word list including connection, intertwine, rooted, faith, beauty, feminine, family tree, grace, and unlikely stories. I also thought a lot about the prophecy in Isaiah 11:1—“Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.” I thought about how God chose to redeem these different women in such a powerful way that changed all of history. I thought about how He meets us in our brokenness to build something strong and beautiful, for His glory.

I went back to those original novella covers and thought about the string I used to show their connection. The five knots represented the five women’s lives and how they became threaded together. The knot was a landmark of their spot in the lineage of Christ. It was their mark on the world.

Covers of the original Lineage of Grace novellas

For this special edition, we wanted to create a timeless look in a classic binding. I did a ton of research, looking at old, vintage books, and was so inspired by the intricacies and elegance of the foil stamping, as well as the simplicity of the typography.

In thinking through color, I wanted to use either red to represent the bloodline of Jesus Christ or purple to represent His royalty. We ended up using purple, since Francine’s gift edition of Redeeming Love uses crimson red.

Then I started sketching.

Since my sketches looked like a child’s drawing, I immediately turned to one of Tyndale’s in-house artists, Lindsey Bergsma, who is gifted at both hand lettering and illustration. I had her develop three concepts: the tree, a classic interwoven look, and a more contemporary hand-lettered style.

One of Lindsey’s cover concept sketches

In the end, we stuck with the tree, as we all loved the symbolism of the family tree the women are a part of. As you can see, Lindsey’s final tree is different from where we started. Her first tree looked more fairy tale–like, and since this is serious, historical fiction, we wanted the tree to have more substance while remaining elegant. We moved Francine’s name out of the branches and placed it in the roots because Francine actually wanted less emphasis on her byline. In the final art, there are five flowers in the branches, symbolizing the five women. Both the branches and the roots are always intertwining, as I really wanted to emphasize how God wove the lives of the five women in the lineage of Christ in such a beautiful way.

Lindsey painstakingly and meticulously developed the art to be perfectly balanced, though asymmetrical, and yet have movement to create an organic look. She created a grid and sketched (over and over) the roots and the branches, always being mindful where the lines would overlap.

I could not be happier with the final result, and I pray this book encourages other women as it has encouraged me!

A Lineage of Grace, Special Edition

By Francine Rivers

This immensely popular compilation of five novellas about the women in the lineage of Jesus Christ from New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers is now available for the first time in a deluxe, foil-stamped, linen hardcover edition! Meet five unlikely women—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary—whom God chose to change eternity. Each was faced with extraordinary, even scandalous, challenges. But they had courage. They lived daring lives. Sometimes they made mistakes—big mistakes. And yet God, in His infinite mercy, used them to bring forth the Christ, the Savior of the world.