Keywords: Writing Systems


Image by williamcromar via Flickr—Lascaux

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Design Thinking—De+Sign Think=De+Think Sign

“Design is always changing. It continually transforms how we engage with each other and our world in new and exciting ways. New processes, strategies and technologies are invented. Historical precedents are reevaluated and critiqued. Innovative storytelling and narrative techniques are formed. Who are those driving this constant process of change? Designers, educators, curators, and authors are among those who are actively reshaping the creative process, directing currents in contemporary culture, and redefining the meaning of design.”—AIGA, Chicago

Guiding questions:

  • What does design thinking mean when applied to pre-historic times?
  • What does it mean when design leads vs. follows other cultural trends?
  • How does Zeitgeist influence, or is effected by, design thinking?

Please read the following:

Look for the reasons (technological, geographical, cultural, belief, etc.) that influenced design development. Apply design thinking.

1. Preface to the first edition
2. Invention of Writing—Chapter 1

  • Cave drawings
  • Pictographs, Petroglyphs
  • Cuneiform
  • Calligraphy
  • Hieroglyphics
  • Rosetta Stone

“Nearly everyone knows that this trilingual Egyptian inscription provided the key for reading and understanding hieroglyphics after it was dug up by Napoleon’s troops in 1799. What is almost always overlooked is what the stone reports. It was a debt amnesty by a young ruler from the Ptolemaic dynasty (a lineage founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals in 314 BC). The stone’s inscription commemorates the cancellation of back taxes and other debts by the 13-year old Ptolemy V. Epiphanes in 197 BC, evidently indoctri­nated by Egypt’s priesthood, into the ways of emulating former pharaohs.


3. Alphabets—Chapter 2

  • Greek uncials
  • Roman Capitals

4. Asian Contribution—Chapter 3

  • Paper
  • Printing

5. Illuminated Manuscripts—Chapter 4

  • Book of Kells, Lindsfarne Gospels, Book of Durrow
  • Uncials
  • Carolinian Minuscules


Origins of Writing

Writing Systems


Rosetta Stone



Chinese Chop or Seal


Trajan's Column Panorama

Roman Capital Letters

History of the visual book


Middle Ages or Dark Ages the Medieval Period

Illuminated manuscripts

Diamond Sutra



Celtic Book Design

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 9.57.06 AM Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 9.57.45 AM

Iona Holy Island

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 9.37.05 AMScreen shot 2013-09-05 at 9.35.46 AM



Carpet pages


Book of HoursLimbourg Brothers

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