What are CGD ex-libris?

CGD competition 2004,
First Prize (The Jean-Pierre
De Smet Prize):
Debora Lauwers

CGD competition, 2004 :
Second Prize (The Avakian Joailliers Prize):
Natalia Lamanova
(1964) Russia

CGD competition 2004, Special Prize of Finnish Ex-libris Society:
Kim Brusten
(1981) Belgium

CGD competition 2004, Special Prize of Town of Sint-Niklaas:
Mine Saraç Dogan (1971) Turkey

Cgd competition 2004, Special Prize for Mixed Technique in which CGD is essential:
Onnik Karanfilian
(1963) Bulgaria

CGD competition, 2004, Finale Foundation Prize, Lausanne :
Best Erotic Ex-libris:
Ozan Ayitkan
(1980) Turkey




Prof. Martin R. Baeyens
Chairman of the Design Department,                                            Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent

At the XXIXth international ex-libris congress of FISAE (the international federation of ex-libris collectors' and artists' societies) in 2002, it was decided to replace the earlier technical symbol for computer aided design (CAD) by two new ones: computer generated design (CGD) and computer reproduced design (CRD). The latter indicates ex-libris in which digital technology has been used just to reproduce a design. The term computer generated design (CGD) means that the computer has been used by the artist as a primary tool to design and create an original ex-libris.

In general terms, using computer technology for the creation of an ex-libris is not very different from using traditional techniques such as wood engraving, etching, lithography or silkscreen. However, there is a higher degree of difficulty stemming from the artist's level of technical knowledge - rather than sheer manual skill - having greater impact on the result.

A special feature of ex-libris is the need for harmony between image and text. When designing an ex-libris with digital technology, it is both important and necessary to start with a very clear view of what is aimed at. The intellectual and artistic vision must be based on a technical insight. To design with this modern medium goes far beyond scanning an image and using a few fonts.

It is really advisable to plan and make a preparatory study before starting to realise the ex-libris on the screen. To obtain a good artistic result, the scanned documents, drawings, sketches and photos - originals - must be used in a professional way, i. e. in the correct order or layers. Even for a wood engraving, similar planning must be made, for example what kind of textures will be used so as to have different gray scales in the composition.
There is no difference when a novel technique is being used.

Computer programs are numerous and, with practice, easy to use, and there exists an inexhaustible choice of filters and fonts. It is important to be sensitive to differences in quality, many of them being inaesthetic or useless. Sometimes it can be necessary to develop a specific font for one particular design.

CGD ex-libris should be of sufficient quality if the author has a good technical experience, but this is not enough. The artist must impose his personality through his use of the technology. For the competition, we expect artistic works, not a simple display of Photoshop virtuosity. And a well-considered choice of fonts, if not a specially developed font for the specific project, is of the greatest importance.


The following is a short check-list for participants:

• Have you respected the limitations in size, and is the size you chose the best for your ex-libris?

• Are the words "ex libris" and the name of the owner well integrated into the composition?

• Did you use the programme sufficiently competently to achieve an acceptable artistic result?

• Remember that the quality of the printing and of the print itself are very important, independently of the printmaking method or equipment used.

• The quality of the paper affects the quality of the work. Most printers today are user friendly and give the possibility to print on good hand-made papers.

• Never forget the vital need for harmony between image and text. Often a golden rule: less is better.

• Integrating computer technology with other printmaking techniques in creating an ex-libris can bring a surplus value, and experiments can give surprising results for your work... don't hesitate to try!

• Finally, never forget that the original purpose of the beautiful work you made is to identify the owner of a book, and should be discovered, like a treasure, when a volume is opened at arm's length...

We hope this contest will be a challenge and a revelation, and that it will pave the way to reducing the widespread lack of understanding for this new technique. We believe that it is a language for the future.

How a specific design was made


Prof. Hasip Pektas
Dean of the Fine Arts Faculty,
Hacettepe University, Ankara Turkey

The ex-libris to the left was designed for Dr. Gero Scheliess to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the death of Beethoven.
Dr. Gero Scheliess directs the music broadcasts at Deutsche Welle, the German radio, and he is a flautist. When I went in September2002 to Bonn for an ex-musicis exhibition, I went to the Beethovenfest of which Deutsche Welle was a sponsor. My friend Ayse Tekin from Deutsche Welle asked me to design an ex-libris for Dr. Gero Scheliess.

I scanned a detail of a flute and hands from a photograph of a flautist. I applied posterize effect to it in the picture processing programme Photoshop 6.0. I changed the background colour, after trying a number of options, and placed a scan of a sheet of Beethoven's music on another layer, applying mask and gradient to it. I prepared the inscriptions in FreeHand 9, a vectoral programme, and then exported them as an eps. I searched and tested carefully to find the suitable area for the text. Typography and inscriptions are very important for ex-libris, as they are part of the composition. I then united all the layers by flattening the image and printed the ex-libris on special paper with a Xerox laser colour printer.

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