Medieval book decorations

After researching through bookbinding, the history of bookbinding, and bookbinding techniques I came across an article for medieval book decorations about the little ornaments often found in medieval book binding and thought it might be a nice way to do a bit of subtle illustration down the side of the branding without taking away from the minimalist elements that most bookbinding companies have.


Normally, letters work together to form words that present a story. From time to time, however, we encounter a letter that contains a narrative all by itself.

While in this case the intentions of the decorator are clear, the meaning of some such historiated initials can only be understood by reading the story they initiate. Miniatures contained even more extensive narratives.






Leiden, University Library, VLQ MS 4

Red is heavily used in medieval book decorations therefore it maybe be a good choice to consider when it comes to choosing a colour scheme for my branding.

Red was used to cover up any mistakes a scribe may have made when writing, eventually these illustrative flourishes ended up becoming a trade mark of sorts for bookbinders and scribes, historians areĀ able to tell where a book came from and when it was made just by analising these markings.


Decorated initial, Leiden, University Library, VLQ MS 38, 12th century, photo: Giulio Menna

Using these flourishes may very well be a viable option to incorporate in my branding but I feel if I do I’ll have to look into making these in depth with plenty of story behind them to add more interest to the piece. However I can’t make it too full on either as this will take away from the minimalism and probably take away from the overall aesthetics making the whole branding not appealing causing the business to be unsuccessful. Therefore I’d have to look for the fine line in between to make the most out of it.


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