Hi gang, good ideas. I'm not too concerned about seeing the seam, just that I can make it clean--no ragged gaps. Grain and color changes are ok. I was thinking of making the front panel's veneer into 3 equal lengths thus making it look intentional (a seam on each 1/3).
As for where the top and bottom meets the face, I was going to use a router with a flush-cut bit and sand paper to fake a mitered edge.