Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CRAP is Ancient Manuscript Design

I have not really given much thought to the design of ancient manuscripts and texts.  After looking through several digital versions of the beautiful works of art, I chose to review the Book of Kells, a manuscript of the Gospel, which is intricately illustrated with Celtic motifs and deep symbolism.  For the purpose of this project I have viewed and noted several instances of how even in ancient civilizations the writers and artists of the time often used the CRAP Principles of Graphic Design.  The specific plate that I reviewed is, Plate XVIII. Portrait of St. John. FOL. 291 V.

For contrast, the designer used color and took advantage of “white space” to give the colored images highlight. The frame of the image of St. John is symmetrical and several motifs are repeated.  This is an illustration of how the designer used repetition.  All images and motifs are aligned.  The celtic motif at each corner is aligned with the “hand” on the left side at the center.  I can assume that since the design is symmetrical, the right is aligned in the same manner.  The image of St. John is centered in the frame. This proximity says that this is an image to be considered important.

The artistry of these images and illustrations are wonderful.  So much care was taken to make ever detail important.  It is no wonder that people often turn to these designs when creating body art.

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