the color of medieval text

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Samuel Bray's picture
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Joined: 27 Sep 2011 - 3:44pm
the color of medieval text
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In medieval text there seems to be a frequent use of red and blue lettering. Does anyone recreating medieval texts (or imitating them in advertising, book cover design, etc.) have a standard Pantone color that best represents these? Absolute precision isn't necessary; I'm just trying to invoke the (admittedly large and diverse) era through the color of the text.

(By the way, there is a [[http://www.amazon.com/PANTONE-SMART-19-3933X-Swatch-Medieval/dp/B004O7C1B6|Pantone "medieval blue"]] but it is darker than the typical blue used in medieval texts, which is more like [[http://www.cmrs.ucla.edu/links/plate_links.html|this]].)

Bob Evans's picture
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Joined: 18 May 2005 - 7:20am
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Pantone Process Color ZPOA-C seems to match the blue in a fragment of a Spanish Hymnbook page I have on my wall.

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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The “medieval blue” you link to is a fabric colour swatch, it’s meant for clothes and curtains, not manuscripts :-)
You could ask to the nice people over at http://www.alterlittera.com/ (http://typophile.com/user/183250/contact) which do a fine job at reproducing medieval texts (see http://typophile.com/node/89526 and http://www.alterlittera.com/al_htm/dpress.htm).

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
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That blue could be a cornflower blue.

Nick Curtis's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005 - 8:16am
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The page from a church missal which I own, printed in Venice in 1521, is strictly black and PMS485 Red.

Russell McGorman's picture
Joined: 25 May 2006 - 10:01am
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I am sure I'll be corrected if wrong but a likely colourant would have been ultra marine blue (ground lapis lazuli) which appears to be between Pantone 653 C or 634 (I'd say on the lighter side since an ink would a transparent wash that would allow the white of the substrate to show through.

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
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@russellm – Hmm... that may be what I was thinking of even though I was sure it was a cornflower blue.

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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Are you printing on non-white background to simulate age? The ink color will be affected if its printed on colored stock. Same thing if a background color is printed on white paper and then colored text overprints it (unless the background color is knocked out under the type).

A good print shop should be willing to do an ink drawdown (test) for you by applying the PMS ink to a swatch of the actual stock. Based on the results they can tweak the ink color a bit, if necessary, before printing begins.