Pittsburgh, Pa., October 15, 2003 — The 2003 Naomi Berber Memorial Award goes to Jean Bourges, president and CEO of Bourges Color International. Bourges is a woman with a unique lifelong devotion to and passion about color communication in the graphic arts process. Established in 1976 by the Society of Fellows (SOF) of the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF), the Berber Award recognizes the contributions of women to the printing and graphic arts industry. To date, it remains the industry’s only award that specifically honors women’s achievements.
Nominator John Werner, former editor and publisher of Graphic Communications World, characterized Bourges as “born to the trade and educated in a world that combined both art and printing.” Her mother, he noted, was an artist and her uncle a famous photographer. Her father, an engraver, wanting to involve artists in platemaking and resolve the disparate viewpoints of artists and printers, invented the Bourges Color Notation System and the Bourges color sheets (pressure-sensitive film used to prepare color art).
This background formed the basis for Bourges’s continued vision and work to provide a communication bridge between the artistic process and the printing process. Werner also commended her enthusiastic advocacy for color communication, listing a plethora of activities ranging from teaching and writing to running Bourges Color International. Bourges, and her father until his death in 1955, also managed a continual flurry of speaking engagements to explain the “art and science of color” at trade shows and in many academic settings.
In endorsing Bourges’s nomination, David Q. McDowell, secretary, CIE (Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage), Division Eight, observed that her thinking about color communication is unusual in that it focuses both on helping artists and designers to understand the palette of process colors that printers can produce and on providing tools to enable them to better work within that color palette. “Her vision is unique—and uniquely enabled by her experience in both design and printing,” said McDowell.
Bourges’s achievements are especially remarkable in that she was able to sustain and promote her approach to color communication starting from the days of dot etching, mechanical overlays, masks, and the original Bourges color sheets and continuing into the current era of software, digital files, and internationally accepted color standards.
It was Jean Bourges who expanded the three colors (then red, yellow, and blue) that her father, Albert, originally set up in the Bourges color wheel to a palette of ten colors for the Bourges color sheets. After her first book, How to Prepare Practical Art for Reproduction, was published in 1951, Bourges embarked on a teaching career in the New York City area before assuming the presidency of Bourges Color International.
When computers entered the mainstream, Bourges realized that she could use digital technology to improve on her color communication vision. She was granted a patent for a color value classification system and wrote another book, Color Bytes—Blending the Art and Science of Color. Printed digitally and published in 1997, the book addresses printable color, color relationships, and the use of digital technology to ensure color communication accuracy.
Bourges has been instrumental in introducing color education texts and curricula for elementary grades and also for advanced studies in partnership with the City University of New York. She has served as chair of the Inter-Society Color Council’s Art Design and Psychology Interest Group and was a member of the Bridg’s (Requirement of International Design and Graphic Solutions) Committee. An early member of CGATS (Committee for Graphic Arts Technologies), a member of TAGA (Technical Association of the Graphic Arts), and a lifetime member of the New York Art Directors Club, Bourges maintains membership in the International Graphic Arts Education Association and the National Art Materials Trade Association.
The engraved gold Berber Award pendant will be presented to Jean Bourges at GATF’s Society of Fellows Award Banquet, Thursday, November 13, 2003, at the La Mansion Del Rio, San Antonio, Texas.
Naomi Berber Memorial Award Background
Established in 1976 by the GATF Society of Fellows, the Naomi Berber Memorial Award honors the distinguished 45-year career of Naomi Berber, GATF’s first administrative director (1925–1970). Known by her colleagues as the “First Lady of the Foundation,” Berber (1905–1973) was the first woman elected to the GATF Society of Fellows (SOF).
The Berber Memorial Award is the graphic communication industry’s only award to specifically recognize women’s achievements in contributing to the evolution of printing and graphic arts.
Nominees for the Berber Award should have worked in the graphic communication and printing industry for ten or more years and have achieved an outstanding record of accomplishments. Accomplishments can be in the form of extraordinary leadership, direction, or support of programs that have furthered the interests of graphic communication and printing.
It is not necessary for a nominee to be a member of GATF, PIA, or SOF.
For more information on how to submit a nomination for the Naomi Berber Memorial Award contact the GATF marketing department at 800-910-4283.
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