“Design with purpose.”
That’s the motto book designer and Bibliotheca creator Adam Lewis Greene takes to heart when approaching any project — an approach he found missing in many of his traditional publishing jobs. “I wasn't long in this trade before I realized that the art of the physical book is a dying one, especially in mass market publishing,” he says.
In 2014, he set his sights on aesthetically reviving what might be considered one of the best-selling, most-debated books in history: the Bible. “I saw the normative form of the Bible as a stark symbol for what is lacking in modern publishing — namely, a consideration for intrinsically beautiful objects and the enjoyment of the reader.”
So he got to work, launching a Kickstarter project for a redesigned edition he called Bibliotheca ("library" in Latin), collecting every book of biblical literature into four streamlined volumes. Removing chapter divisions, verse numbers, and annotations, Greene's design was both exquisite and easy to read. Notably, he also created an exclusive typeface for the project that incorporates quirks of his own handwriting, to keep in tradition with early versions of the book.
Over the thirty-day campaign, word of Greene’s project traveled around the internet, landing in Fast Company and The Verge and intriguing an ever-growing set of book-lovers and religious historians alike. At the end of the campaign, Greene and 14,884 backers had raised over $1.4 million for the project — 3892 percent of his initial goal — making it the most-funded and most-backed typography project in Kickstarter history.
Beyond allowing Greene to publish Bibliotheca just as he'd envisioned it, the project’s success allowed him to found his own design company, Writ Press. “Before running the campaign I had no web presence, and no one in the design world knew who I was except the people I worked with," he says. Now, he has people anxiously awaiting his next project.
Greene recently created a new edition of Bibliotheca. It's just like the first, but with a few extra-special iterations, including a hand-bound edition and a paperback edition, as well as a walnut slipcase and a companion notebook. As he said in Bibliotheca’s first go-around, “A book is to be cherished. A book is a precious artifact.”