Lest you think The Behemoth's logo is a dinosaur eye, signaling CT's new digizine is solely a science or a creation magazine, relax. It's actually an iguana eye, according to designer Jennifer McGuire. Jennifer, along with website designer Valerie Broucek, created the logo. "The behemoth is somewhat described in Scripture but no one really knows what it is. Some artists have given it a try, but still it is not a known animal," she wrote in an e-mail. "I wanted something that was large and historic, primitive-looking."
The Behemoth gets its name from the biblical beast as well as embodies its awesomeness: each issue strives to "to stop and behold the wonder of God," as Ted Olsen writes in the inaugural issue. "We want to look at God's creation, God's history, God's people, and the glorious study of God," he says. "In these and future articles, more than anything else, we want to behold. Not exhort, scold, theorize, pontificate, but simply marvel."
And it does so in many ways—the first issue contains articles on the physics of baseball, the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer, and musings from Karl Barth. Ted concludes, "Wonder has a way of leading to both humility and praise. And if The Behemoth does that for our readers, we've accomplished our purpose."
One thing to marvel at is the way The Behemoth itself was created. "The Behemoth is unique to CT as a whole project, both the responsive website and the app," Jennifer said, crediting Valerie for designing the responsive website and Matt Wistrand for building it. "Most people will probably use the responsive website. It's exciting to see responsive design being done. It will work on a computer monitor resized to a tablet and a phone. We worked together as a team to get the look for both the site and the app, and wanted the reader to have a good experience while reading interesting content."
Valerie first had to plan the design and layout for the site, which took a lot of work. "You have to design for a handful of breakpoints, making sure the layout, images, and font all work well at every possible browser size," she wrote in an e-mail. She added, "This was a fun site to design. With the concept of this digital magazine, imagery is huge (no pun intended), so we wanted to make sure that every article had a powerful, evocative photograph that would draw you in. And we chose beautiful, contemporary fonts that are designed for comfortable reading on screen, that give it a simple, clean look."
Jennifer explains that she was building a biweekly app for Books & Culture that would "incorporate HTML (adding a copy function to the app)." That made her a natural choice to handle the app for The Behemoth as well.
Books & Culture is CT's first app to incorporate a vertical and horizontal option, Jennifer says. "Books & Culture has a reader mode in the vertical and the horizontal view is HTML, which incorporates the copy function for the reader." Neither the Books & Culture app nor The Behemoth has ads, which enables them to have a horizontal view.
Being online only also allows the publication to be interactive. The live links "open in the app so the reader never really leaves the app itself," Jennifer says. "We have the option of audio and video being embedded. For The Behemoth, I see this as a fun and informative option in the future."
"We love to hear what our readers think," Valerie says. "Let us know so we can make it even better."
Elissa Cooper is assistant editor of Christianity Today magazine.