By James P. Keenan
This special page features Nurgül Arikan’s view of ex libris for bookplate.org. She possesses the vision for the future of ex libris art. With the birth of e-books, will there be an end to printed bookplates? This doesn’t seem likely with fine graphic artists like Nurgül who are introducing new concepts in ex libris design through computer generated technology.
“In the 21st century, the significance of ex libris will increase through the many organizations that have been established to expand the awareness of bookplate art. To increase this awareness will benefit both artists and collectors everywhere. The acceptance of computer generated designs throughout the ex libris community has changed the possibilities in printmaking.
Computers can assist in improving the development of the design and layout of the art. The production process of printmaking has always changed to keep pace with the times and will continue to change; therefore artists & printmakers should consider taking full advantage of all of the benefits of this new technology. When working on a computer, the designer can fully appreciate colors, work on size adjustment, and a lot more. Throughout the initial development of the design and up to the comprehensive sketch stage it is possible to make desired changes to the design before beginning the final original artwork. Ex libris artists can benefit from these features in all departments of the graphic arts.”
Ms. Arikan got her start designing personalized greeting cards for her friends. These custom made cards were a reflection of the tastes, interests, or special events in the lives of her friends. This is how she became interested in creating personal marks of ownership and her transition to bookplate art came naturally. Nurgül is a graphic arts professional who specializes in the development of corporate identity, advertising campaigns, book design, and she enjoys the development of any graphic design project. She is now active in the field of ex libris with more than 125 bookplates on her opuslist!
She works to inspire young artists as a lecturer at the Private Faculty of Fine Arts in Istanbul. Her position on the Istanbul Ex Libris Society keeps her informed as to the latest developments in bookplate design and the progress of this graphic art form in Turkey. She is on the Board of our society. The ASBC&D is an international association and for more than 9 decades we have welcomed innovative thinking in advancing the interest in ex libris design.
Every ex libris project that she develops requires a unique design solution. Sometimes you can interpret the message in the art immediately, while other times you must look carefully to see those details and to gain an appreciation for the owner and to understand the symbolism in the art. Of course, some ex libris designs can be seen without a message or unique interpretation while others are created through typography or beautiful calligraphic letterforms.
Through the international exhibition at the Instituto Allende Fine Arts College in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico the ASBC&D first presented Nurgül Arikan’s bookplate art in North America, 2009. As it turns out, the Instituto Allende is the very same college where she had her first North American solo exhibition and she conducts Master Artist Workshops in ex libris design. Ms. Arikan is leading the way for many young art students into the 21st century of bookplate art. Her original, prize-winning computer generated designs (CGD) truly rank among the very best in the world for this category. She possesses a thorough knowledge of the procedures in graphic design, advertising, and traditional printmaking techniques—this certainly gives her a clear advantage.
It is important for Ms. Arikan to know who is commissioning the design. If the owner has no specific collecting interests, she must try to discover that person. She finds pleasure in the development of the art through the use of photos and verse in the designs. She also likes to incorporate a part of herself into the ex libris art. All of the ex libris she has created present a unique story. The bookplates that she creates have different sizes according to their design. These bookplates are intended for use in books and printed on archival quality papers. Generally she prefers to arrange the longest edge at 10 cm, but this size will vary according to the elements of the design. The smallest one she has worked on is 4 x 4 cm and the largest one is 12 x10 cm.
Nurgül is committed to advancing the interest in the art of ex libris. She has participated in many international exhibitions, competitions, earning numerous awards and she has been recognized through several solo exhibitions. Her bookplate designs have been seen in the newspapers and magazines of different nations and are regularly exhibited in museums around the world.
Ms. Arikan understands that one of the key elements in designing a bookplate is to find an original, compatible type style to complement the art. It is important to find the most suitable letterforms for each design. In some bookplates, typeface chosen is incorporated into the design as an afterthought without consideration for the size or style of letter. The typeface used is critical in the overall visual impact of the design. Lettering must take a prominent position within the bookplate art by utilizing the correct size, color, and placement.
Born in 1969, Nurgül graduated from the Graphic Arts Division of Faculty of Arts at Cukurova University in 1991. She completed her Masters Degree in “Graphics of Advertising” at the Graphic Arts Division of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Marmara University in 1995. Her thesis was written on “Internationally successful and award winning advertising campaigns. In 2003, she obtained her second advanced Degree from the Division of Public Relations of the Faculty of Communications at Anadolu University.