Time Machine / Medieval Manuscript Design

The ancient Medieval scribes really were pioneers in design and typography. Yes, they did wear funny robes, have odd hair cuts and did everything by hand but when you examine their work you will find some surprisingly modern principles in its construction. They used "grid" layout systems, left justified text, a lot of "white space", paragraph spacing, leading and emphasized words using colour and size. All of these principles we use today in our "modern" graphic design.

In the Attitude Design studio we really do value the idea of using "grids" - a grid subdivides a page vertically and horizontally creating margins, columns, and blocks of space between images and paragraphs. We use them all the time - not just in printed material but also in our website designs and the principles of which all started hundreds of years before a computer was even a twinkle in the computer maker's eye.

In studying the art of grids for aesthetic and functional usage, one can not go far wrong in taking a look at the masters of the profession, the monks and scribes which pioneered the way in their medieval manuscripts.

So this "time machine" article takes us back to those ancient times. We hope you are as inspired as we are - you never know, you may be taking the grid from one of these manuscripts and applying it to your next corporate brochure!

In those days, from a design point of view, "the pen" really was "mightier than the sword"!


Medieval Manuscript design 1
Medieval Manuscript design 2
Medieval Manuscript design 3