Introducing the Assurance Collection

The Process

Bible Study

Every YHWH Apparel design starts with prayer and Bible study. As a team we dive into the Word of God to seek Him first and to learn more about Him. In response, we use the tools and talents He has given us in order to create unique pieces that speak to the Gospel of Jesus and point to the character, will, and worthiness of God.

This semester, YHWH Apparel focused on the theme of assurance to guide our designs. This theme was decided upon through prayer and felt fitting given the present realities of the world — the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, exacerbations of racial inequalities in the world, and a general feeling of uncertainty.

We looked throughout the scriptures to see and learn how it is that God points us to assurance. We studied what the word “assurance” meant, how and where assurance is found, and what it looks like to live with assurance.

What is assurance?

Assurance is not the idea that God will make our lives better, nor does it exist to serve our own purpose and enjoyment. Our assurance isn’t found in more favorable circumstances. Rather, our assurance is in Jesus.

Undoubtedly, there are tribulations we go through in this world that make us question the character of God, or whether God is even real. But being a believer does not mean that our faith is insurance against bad things ever happening in our lives. Sin exists apart from God. But the Good News is that Jesus has conquered and triumphed over evil. We believe that Jesus died on the cross for us knowing that this world is broken. How great, mighty, loving, and kind is our God that He prevails over all the pain and suffering in this world, that He is accessible to us and works all things for our good. He makes all things beautiful and will make all things new.

God not working or “showing up” in the way that we want and when we want should not be what our faith depends on; that should not be what we hope for. Assurance in Christ and in His return is assurance in a reunion with God. That’s what Heaven is. To be in the arms of the Father, to be in complete fellowship with Him is what we’re waiting for. That’s why even in the silence and even in the waiting, we’re able to be expectant. We come to realize more of the weight and gift of assurance that comes from Jesus.

Knowing and believing that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, we begin to understand the depth of God’s love. He is our loving God, creator, and Father. He is not neglecting us. He is walking us through a plan that is so much greater than what we could ever conjure up for ourselves–one that brings us to love and know Him more. So, let us cultivate a relationship with God, live to make Him known, and be awakened to the present ways that God is working.

The Design Process

Though we have a dedicated product design team at YHWH Apparel, our initial ideation process is a hands-on effort by all team members.

To start the design process, the whole team began reflecting on our theme of assurance and the passages we studied alongside it (Acts 16:23–34, Hebrews 10:19–25, Psalm 118:24, John 11: 1–6, 17–27, Habakkuk 1:1–5, to name a few). We discussed words, phrases, feelings, and images that came to mind.

Key messages that stood out from this initial brainstorm were the goodness of God, the difficulties of our circumstances, and our comfort, confidence, and community in Christ. Visually, the team collectively envisioned a nature-inspired, earth-related aesthetic.

These products were actually created and finalized entirely in one weekend. We had been toying with a variety of ideas for months, yet none seemed the most intentionally designed. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, some of us were even considering delaying or canceling our launch. The possibility of not releasing a product was super disheartening considering the time, effort, and thought that we had been investing all semester. But as a team, we collectively decided to give it one more push that weekend. Thanks to God’s provision, our products were born: a completely reimagined and redesigned long sleeve and the finalization of the tote bag.

The Products

Our two products are aesthetically and scripturally similar. Both take inspiration from the book of Habakkuk, which aptly echoes the disheartening and uncertain world we’re living in today yet also the unchanging and assuring nature of God. We chose a black and white color palette for its aesthetics, but also because we felt that it represented the juxtaposition between the darkness in our world and the hope and light of Christ. For our typeface, we chose Helvetica Neue for its classic streetwear look, but also because its weightiness reflects the sturdy foundation that our God provides.

The Long Sleeve

We created a minimal long sleeve t-shirt based on Habakkuk 3:17–19, which reads:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

The front of the long sleeve reads “Assurance” in a simple sans-serif font, all caps. It’s a bold yet simple declaration of our assurance in God, and it also adopts popular typography trends in streetwear. The back of the long sleeve is rich with direct scripture from Habakkuk 3 and features a unique typography and layout design.

The focal point of the shirt is the photo in the middle. We translated the sentiments of Habakkuk 3 into a surreal-style photo manipulation inspired by Scripture (as well as artist Kanghee Kim). We created a barren fig tree (verse 17) situated in a barren landscape that can be described as either wintry or dry. Between the branches is the juxtaposition of a cross, cloud, and mountain in a high place (verse 19), reflected spatially in the photo. Through the graphic, we hope to communicate that throughout any season (whether stormy, dry, or wintry), and regardless of whether we see any fruit in our lives, we can still have confidence that God is above and in control. We hope that this simultaneously abstract yet real design evokes reflection and sparks conversations.

The Tote Bag

Our tote bag focused on Habakkuk 1:1–5, which reads:

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed,
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
so justice goes forth perverted.

The Lord’s Answer

“Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.”

Habakkuk 1 mirrors a lot of what happened this year. Exacerbated racial injustice and violence, wildfires across our state, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and a fractured political environment all echo the “destruction and violence, strife and contention” of Habakkuk 1. Reports all over social media and the news only made us more disheartened.

That’s why we were inspired to create an editorial, newspaper-style layout design for our tote bag. We wanted to acknowledge all the brokenness in the world, so we included excerpts of Habakkuk’s complaint from the passage. We especially wanted to highlight God’s response to all the disheartening chaos: that He is doing a work in our days that we wouldn’t believe even if told (Habakkuk 1:5). Now, this is the news that we cling to.

In addition to the editorial theme, we featured another surreal-style photo manipulation that symbolizes a number of other themes — 1) the assurance and peace of knowing that the world and our lives are in God’s hands, 2) that God is working even when we can’t see it amidst the shadows, and 3) that our focus should be placed on the One who’s greater.

Reflection

The YHWH Fall 2020 staff!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article! We hope that these products spark joy and conversation and that you can rest in the hope and assurance of Christ during these hard times. We’re thankful for God’s provision during this entire process and give all the glory and honor to Him!

If you’re interested in purchasing any of our products, they are available in limited quantities here. We expect them to ship around early January. The majority of our profits will go to Letters of Hope, a non-profit that helps bring the Gospel to the incarcerated. Learn more here.

Additionally, if you’d like to listen to the Spotify playlist we curated in light of our theme, please click here!

Grace and peace,

YHWH Apparel

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