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‘Good’ Is a Protest Against Moral Decay

Ned Bustard, owner of World’s End Images, is a graphic designer, art gallery director, author, illustrator, and printmaker. He edited It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God and co-edited Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who. He is currently working on The Reformation ABCs. Ned lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with his wife Leslie. They have three daughters, one dog, and an unreasonable amount of books. You can find him at www.NedBustard.com.

How would you describe your work?

I do a variety of things that would fall under the umbrella of “work.” I design logos and publicity materials. I curate art shows, make books, and draw pictures. Generally, I think of my work as making the world a more beautiful place, one project at a time.

As an image-bearer of God, how does your work reflect some aspect of God’s work?

In Genesis 1, God was creative. He made things, and they were good. Therefore, I see myself as an image-bearer in being a “maker of good.” When I think about what I do—whether it is graphic design, creating books, or pulling prints—it’s all about making good. And “good” shouldn’t be confused with “nice “ or “sweet.” Good is a protest against the moral decay around us. Good is fountains of water in the desert. Good is iron that sharpens iron. Good adds to the beauty. Good is redemptive.

How does your work give you a unique vantage point into the brokenness of the world?

I often feel that my work magnifies the reality of the fall of Babel. My clients often struggle to put into words what they want. And once we’ve communicated clearly to each other, there comes even more work translating those ideas into a visual language their customer will understand. It can often feel muddled and bent.

I also struggle with having to reduce my work into quarter-hour increments for billing purposes. I realize that often I can’t bill for the time it actually takes to make what’s good. That creates tension in me and between me and my clients.

Jesus commands us to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How does your work function as an opportunity to love and serve others?

I always tell people that graphic design is loving your neighbor—that is, if it’s done right. It’s tempting as an artist to steer projects in a direction that makes me look good and promotes my agenda. But instead it’s my job to make my client look good and to communicate his or her goals as clearly and beautifully as possible. Sometimes that means challenging the client and loving them by telling them what they thought they wanted was actually ugly or is ineffective. And often this means making something less elegant because it’s beyond the scope of what they can afford or more than what they desire.

Ultimately I serve people by giving them good. When people come to me with graphic design needs, I picture them coming with empty hands. I want fill those hands and, by God’s grace, I want to fill them to overflowing.

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