Saturday, July 16, 2011

a new Chi Rho design

The Chi Rho is an ancient symbol of our Lord Jesus Christ, and surely one of the most famous, even today in a world that is in many ways post-Christian.  There are several christograms, but this one is one of my favorite.  For those unfamiliar, the chi rho is the Greek letter chi superimposed on the Greek letter Rho, which in terms of our Latin letters looks like an X and a P.  In fact, these two Greek letters are the abbreviation for the word in that tongue for Christ. 

It can be found in innumerable forms (surely hundreds).  Any glance at Google Images under "chi rho", for example, will yield this symbol in many color schemes and font styles, in simple styles and elaborate, tattooed on skin, embroidered on vestments, and everything in between.  A friend of mine, I might add, has it tattooed on his chest. 

Anyway, an idea came to me yesterday or the day before, namely, that I would love to find a good chi rho for the front cover of the psalter I have published.  When I first published that book, I contented myself with just a plain cover with no image at all.  Then, a couple months ago, I went back and revised the cover to include a chi rho, a very plain, rather boring looking one which I found for free online.  But as I have been getting better at book cover design with the tools offered at Lulu, ideas have been popping into my head.  And the latest was that I ought to go back and try to improve on that boring, off-white chi rho (it was an almost morbid type of white).  So my idea was to find one that is 1. in the public domain, 2. has some character, and a distinctive quality, and 3. my color idea was red with black background.  I searched and searched, and did find a few potentials, but was unsure how to find out if they were subject to copyright.

Then Ruth, my dear wife, came up with an idea.  She suggested trying to make one herself.  I was like, okay, bring it on.  She experimented with a number of different ideas, such as taking an interesting font, like Black Letter, and playing with it.  Finally, she went with a more basic approach, and the result is a design that I really like.  It has clean lines, with elegant serifs on the ends, which is a nice touch.  Ruth actually came up with variations on it, and this is the one I went with for the cover:

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You once mentioned the WELS hymnal as "hopelessly low church." I agree. I grew up with that hymnal, and when I was younger, I thought the Chi Rho design meant "No Smoking." (I also thought that the "he" in "Blessed is he..." from the Sanctus--oops, I mean, Holy, holy, holy--meant me rather than Christ.)

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...

Thanks for sharing this. Those are funny.