The article is an attempt to answer the question about the purpose of contemporary bibliological research into old books. In addition to strictly research-related assumptions concerning expansion of knowledge of old cultures and presentation of new perspectives, there are also practical considerations. The knowledge of the rules guiding type casters, typesetters and printers in the past may help modern designers of typefaces and publications in developing their skills. Adaptations, especially digital adaptations, of old typefaces require knowledge of old technologies; effective application of type as a means of expression is facilitated by knowledge of its historical determinants; while awareness of the evolution in book layout makes it possible to better design all elements of books. Linking theoretical knowledge and practice may be inspiring not only for designers using old patterns, but also for scholars who, using the modern language of description and modern terminology, may see old books as designs in the fullness of their function.