Catullus, Ovid, Lygdamus in Tibullus, and Martial describe in detail the outer decorations of a luxury papyrus roll. Why did they not describe the lettering, ink, and papyrus? The article shows there was a set design for these: the lettering was always capitalis rustica, the ink black, and the papyrus white. By contrast Optatianus describes a parchment codex in which the parchment was dyed scarlet and the letters written in gold and silver ink. His Carmen I is analysed in depth.