The official records of the College of Arms and Letters Patent granting armorial bearings are written and painted by hand by specialist scriveners and heraldic artists.
The College maintains an ancient English tradition of manuscript writing and illumination which can be traced back to the monastic scriptoria of the dark ages. Under the supervision of the heralds, College artists prepare a wide variety of heraldic artwork, including: fine paintings on vellum for display; coloured working drawings for the guidance of craftsmen in other media; painted wooden shields; black and white line drawings for use by engravers on metal and glass; seal, flag, and bookplate designs.
The College artists can prepare other artwork such as illuminated addresses, certificates including freedom certificates, commissions, and patents. The studios of the College of Arms are famous for their very high quality.
There has long been a tradition of the Letters Patent granting arms having elaborate decorated borders. Tudor grants of arms were often decorated with floral designs. Modern grants of arms can be embellished in the same way, in the tradition of medieval illuminated manuscripts.