Style Manifesto

May 8, 2015 in Bembino

Red Version of the 'Seal of Approval' logo for the Style Manifesto of the Research Group on Manuscript EvidenceIn its Style Manifesto, the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence defines the principles of its approach to publications. Foremost is the principle that form and content must be appropriate for function and audience.

A New, Illustrated Version with Our Font Bembino

Page 1 of the 'Style Manifesto' of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence in the version of April 2014 (4 pages)

Opening Page in the New Version (May 2015)

As the Research Group launches its new, updated official website in May 2015, it issues the new version of its Style Manifesto.  Circulated as a booklet, it is available here.

It now takes the form of a 4-page booklet, laid out in our own multilingual font Bembino.  The Style Manifesto describes, demonstrates, and illustrates our continuing dedication to the principled, unified approach to our Publications.

These principles pertain, of course, also to the reproduction of images, including photographs of manuscripts and other forms of material evidence. In the new booklet, the horizontal pair of half-page plates present 2 views of the same late-medieval manuscript page (subject of our blogpost on The Mass of Saint Gregory, Illustrated), un-cropped and un-retouched.  These views represent photographs taken with the same lighting but different backgrounds, and with both a scale ruler and a color guide in view.

Such practices can supply guides to convey the integrity of the object and to aid the viewer to assess the accuracy, or otherwise, of images as presented variably in print or on screen.  They may encourage consideration of the specific circumstances and choices governing any given photograph, which might represent only some aspects of the original which other choices could supplement, just as different snapshots or portraits may reveal different aspects of the same sitter.  This position fosters the integrated approach which the Research Group seeks to promote.

[Published on 8 May 2015, with updates]

Bibliographical and Evolutionary Observations

Page 1 of 'ShelfLife', Issue 1 (Winter 2006) presents the full-page list of 'Contents'

Contents Page of ‘ShelfLife’ 1

The first page of the 'Style Manifesto' of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence in the version of October 1999

(October 1999) page 1

Over the years, the Research Group has issued its Style Manifesto with certain updates from time to time. Until now, this text has spanned 2 pages, laid out in Adobe Garamond — the font which we chose for our official font (before the creation of Bembino), supplemented by several especially designed characters for Old English, Middle English, and some other cases.

Already by 1990, our Style Manifesto had taken the shape and structure which it maintained until 2006.  During those years, it circulated as a printout among our promotional materials.  While the Research Group was based principally in the United Kingdom, its format was A4.  With the move of our principal base to the United States in 1994, its format became quarto.  A specimen appears in pdf here in the revised version of October 1999, as the Research Group prepared to incorporate as a nonprofit educational organization.

With the publication of Issue 1 (Winter 2006) of our Illustrated Bulletin ShelfLife, we published the Style Manifesto in an illustrated version, likewise laid out in 2 pages and set in Adobe Garamond, as before, but with double columns per page like the rest of the Bulletin.  The accompanying half-page plate reproduces in color the un-cropped image of an opening between facing pages in the 10th-century Corpus Aldhelm (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 326, pages 6-7) from a photograph by Mildred Budny.

Principles in Practice

Our publications and some co-publications employ the Style Manifesto in their layout and design.  Cases include:

  • The Style Manifesto itself, in all its versions,
    as in the version of October 1999
    and the current version of May 2015.
Contents Page of Illustrated Catalogue of "Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge" (1997)

‘Illustrated Catalogue’ Contents Page

Title Page for "Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge" (1997)

‘Illustrated Catalogue’ Title Page

Our Illustrated Bulletin

Poster 2 for "Second Bulgarian Empire" Session 2 at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, with manuscript image from Add MS 39627, folio 6r © British Library Board. Poster laid out in RGME Bembino.

Image © British Library Board, Add MS 39627, folio 6r, reproduced by permission

Poster for lecture on 'Manuscripts versus Photography: Image and "Imago" in a Digital Age' by Mildred Budny at Princeton University on 19 November 2010. Photograph by Mildred Budny of MS 10, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Bibliothèque des Annonciades,reproduced by permission.

Photograph by Mildred Budny of MS 10, Boulogne-sur-mer, Bibliothèque des Annonciades, reproduced by permission

  • Our Illustrated eNeweletter (the RGMEnewsletter)
    ShelfMarks:  The Newsletter of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
    in its printed form (ISSN 2377-4906),
    while the format of its online form (ISSN 2377-4118) varies perforce according to its mode of delivery.
    Our choice of both forms responds to the changing modes of publication and access,
    while maintaining the principles of our Style Manifesto.


Circulation, or, Spreading the Words

Gold-stamped logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence over Royal Blue fabric ground on the Front Cover of Volume II (Plates) of 'Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge' by Mildred BudnyThe two-volume Illustrated Catalogue has traditionally been available through Medieval Institute Publications, as publicized formerly via its ‘Non Series Volumes” (formerly ““). From 2016, with a change in direction, Medieval Institute Publications has transferred most of the distribution to us. Rising to the task, we respond with a Promotional Offer.  Given the attractive price, some individuals and institutions wish for 2 copies.

Similarly, as we explore our archives in reporting and recording more of our history on this website, we have discovered several copies of the first issue of our one-of-a-kind Illustrated Bulletin, ShelfLife.  They may be ordered, too.  Details are coming soon.

Mostly our publications are available free-of-charge, including our copyright font Bembino.  We circulate them gladly as part of our nonprofit educational mission.

Red Version of the 'Seal of Approval' logo for the Style Manifesto of the Research Group on Manuscript EvidenceNaturally, we welcome acknowledgments, suggestions, news of your use of our Publications, and donations to maintain our programs and publications. You might Contact Us and give Contributions and Donations in various forms.


More examples of the Style Manifesto in practice are in preparation.  Both our 2016 Symposium and 2016 Congress activities present a cluster, or bouquet, of them. Visit their pages here and here.

Join the Interview with Our Layout & Font Designer, issued on 25 September 2016.  Responding to our questions and shared recollections, Leslie French describes the paths traversed

in the creation of the distinctive style of Research Group page-layout and publicationsHis digital designs for the Research Group begin at the beginning, with our logo and original letterhead, and extend throughout our publications, from pages and posters to booklets and books, including our multilingual font Bembino” — and our Style Manifesto in its several unfolding forms.

The Interview appears here.  A radio interview with our Director, co-author of the Style Manifesto, is showcased here.

Also, you could sign up for notices here.