De Honnecourt’s architectural sketches
13th century French architect Villard de Honnecourt is known for his sketchbook of drawings and writings on architecture compiled while he travelled in search of work as a master mason. His sketchbook collection is viewable at The University of Newcastle’s site. Some examples:

VdH sketch VdH sketch

Related: Sketchbook of Villard de Honnecourt [Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon] and The Golden Ratio in graphic design [Bridgewater Review].

Renaissance typography
Web Design is 95% Typography offers the design shown below and says, “The argument that we do not have enough fonts at our disposition is as good as irrelevant: During the Italian renaissance the typographer had one font to work with, and yet this period produced some of the most beautiful typographical work.”


Minimalist Euclid
Oliver Byrne’s edition of Euclid: “An unusual and attractive edition of Euclid was published in 1847 in England, edited by an otherwise unknown mathematician named Oliver Byrne…What distinguishes Byrne’s edition is that he attempts to present Euclid’s proofs in terms of pictures, using as little text — and in particular as few labels — as possible.” Sample page below.