The Mormons: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | BYU Studies

The Mormons: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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The Mormons: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints
Editor Roy A. Prete,
Britain: Merrell Publishers, 2013

The Mormons: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Reviewer Herman du Toit,

Many predicted that the printed book would be doomed by developments in digital media. Far from it. This sumptuously illustrated "coffee table" hardcover publication by Merrell, an independent British publisher, testifies to the value of the printed book. The materiality of the medium emphasizes the synthesis of the complex visual and textual content of this publication—stressing the fact that this is a book and not a digital file after all. Stephen Hales Creative Inc., a design company in Provo, Utah, was responsible for the appealing visual design and layout of the book. The hard cover and dust jacket are both chrome coated to provide the luster of a high-end publication, and the pages are printed on pearlescent, high-quality paper for the same reason. Using a landscape format, the book is illustrated in full-color recto and verso, and a two-column and sidebar layout allows the eye to play easily over both text and image without the need to flip pages unnecessarily to find related illustrations. The text is set in fairly conservative Mercury Text typeface from the Hoefler Foundry; this choice resonates with the dignity of the book's subject while at the same complying with the space and legibility requirements of a news column, for which this typeface was originally designed. The subheadings are set in Gotham, a sans serif typeface that imparts a more contemporary look to the printed page.

For this book, more than 250 photographic illustrations have been tastefully selected from a wide range of sources, including Getty Images, Deseret News Archives, Brigham Young University, and the proprietary images used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for illustrating its published materials. Fine contemporary images by individual photographers such as Val Brinkerhoff and Stephen Hales are also represented. The photographs are spread throughout the publication in various scales and sizes, not only as illustrations for the text but also to provide variety and hold visual interest. They document the various operations of the Church as an institution, but they also provide some insight into the lives and activities of its members. These illustrations have a warm "human-interest" appeal in their contemporaneity and colorful visual impact. They collectively project the image of a dynamic organization in keeping with the times, with members who appear to be happy, fully engaged, and even fun-loving—a feature that speaks to the positive promotional interests of this book's publisher, editor, and authors.

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