The Book of Psalms [COMPLETED] | Skillshare Projects

Michael Letto

Graphic Designer



The Book of Psalms [COMPLETED]

I decided to make a book cover for 'The Book of Psalms', written by King David. I'll use one of the most famous (and shortest) Psalms in the Bible, Psalm 23 as my text.


Psalm 23 (NKJV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


I printed out the entire Psalm as suggested and went over it multiple times. I took from it main subjects and themes which were important to the text and possible to interpret into a book cover. I highlighted verse 4 because it is probably the most important (and recognized) verse of this Psalm, and more or less the point of it. I'll explore other options, but I feel like my cover should reference this verse in some way.


I explored different ideas based on my notes made earlier. I tried focusing on different verses and themes until I felt comfortable with my selection of concepts. I experiemented with using only type, and I tried making the image the hero. I tested die-cuts, transparency sheets, and different mediums to achieve a unique look and feel to the cover. All options are valid, it's now just a matter of selecting which one would best suit the material.



I had three ideas I thought could work really well:


My drawings are awful, but in this cover I would have a chalice overflow with water, which would then run over the title and the effect would be seen by smuding the text. This references verse 5 when it says "You annoint my head with oil; my cup runs over."

In this cover I make use of diecut but putting verse 4 on the cover in block letters and cutting them out of black so that the white underneath shows through. On the inside, all that is seen is the dropshadow of the words. This emphasizes that death is just a shadow, and its threat is nothing to fear.*

*This one is difficult to explain and understand, it'll be clearer when I mock it up in Photoshop.

This is probably my favourite option. In this cover I would use a photo of a dark alley, but instead of concrete, there would be water. The title would then be in the water. This makes reference to the main verse in the Psalm, verse 4: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil." It also harkens back to verse 2 where it says "He leads me beside still waters." I wanted to combine the two, as if to say: "Even though I walk through dark valleys, he leads me beside still waters."


This is my first draft, based off my first sketch in the previous section. I used an image of a chalice and implied that liquid was running over by smudging the text below it. "My cup runs over." I used the colour blue to make reference to water and the peace that is offered with it, according to the Psalm. I tried it in black and white, which worked but I felt it needed colour for it to come to life.

I don't love this design, but I'm glad I explored it digitally.

I tried my better idea, combining a body of water wiht a dark alley. I still think the concept is there, but I don't like the execution. I'm going to have to revisit my plan in order to figure out how I can use water in my design in a way that's simple both in idea and practicality. I think I'm getting closer to a good solution, though!

Here's the close-to-final version. I scanned strips of construction paper to create 'still water' and used a typeface called "Sea Worthy", placing the title underneath the 'waves'. I think this is a simple approach and a strong concept. Some minor tweaks need to be made, then I'll mock it up for the final!

Suggestions are always welcome!


I've had a lot of fun with this class, and I want to thank Peter for sharing his insight and providing us with helpful tips of idea generation and giving us an inside look at his process. It was a real treat!


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