Wikipedia Revamp Pays Homage To The Leather-Bound Encyclopedia

Wikipedia Revamp Pays Homage To The Leather-Bound Encyclopedia

The Das Referenz iPad app tries to bring heritage and style back to Wikipedia.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 25 april 2014

The designers of Wikipedia have reportedly been working hard to bring the site up to date in terms of its design and format. While they are working to give the site a modern makeover, design consultancy Raureif has created an app that transforms Wikipedia into a digital version of a classic leather-bound encyclopedia.

The design of iPad app Das Referenz was inspired by an 1895 Meyer’s encyclopedia. According to the project description, encyclopedias have always stood for culture and style, and in a way the redesign of Wikipedia brings heritage and style back and emphasizes that knowledge should be treated with respect. The creators compare it to an heirloom that’s been in the family for years.


The iPad app includes a clean “vintage-inspired” layout where images are on the left and the text on the right. It uses beautiful custom typography and has tanned pages resembling old parchment paper. Images first appear in black and white and transform into colored photos when tapped.

Das Referenz also has a search page inspired by a real encyclopedia and a TOC dropdown lets readers jump to any page. The app also pulls data from Wikidata.

The app is available for free on the Apple app store. Users can opt to remove the ads for a $3 fee.

Das Referenz
[h/t] Co.Design

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