Ideas and Inspiration: Jean Berté process

This is really just a quick update duplicating a post I made on the Facebook page a while back that seems like it should have something on here too—I’d love to do some more research on this and write a proper post one day, but that’s probably going to take a while as it looks like getting the information would take some digging…

Today I was linked to from Richard Hollick’s page, and I found out that while I had included some posters in my portfolio here, I hadn’t actually written a post about them yet, so here’s a quick update showing what I’d put on Facebook back in April:

I’ve been fascinated by the artwork printed in the Jean Berté process for ages, and yesterday I came to recreate a poster printed in the process to use as a small element in a magazine cover design. Seeing as I now had artwork that completely recreated a Jean Berté printed poster I decided to see what it would take to recreate the poster not just in look, but in technical detail as well.

The Jean Berté Process was a colour printing process that involved overlaid colour designs printed using rubber stamps and water-based translucent inks. This meant that using just a few colours, you could create artwork that also included blends of those colours. (More details can be found here, amongst other places:

In this case, the purple element overprints the black (and orange) and as a result a far deeper purple is created in those areas that overprint.

This poster is a rather simple one, but using greater numbers of colours and blocks, quite sophisticated designs could be achieved. Probably the most famous work printed in this process are Brian Cook’s series of book covers showing landscapes of Britain.

Jean Berté Proces explanatory pic

An experiment showing the make-up of a design using the Jean Berté process as simulated in Adobe Illustrator.


About jorisammerlaandesign

Joris is a Military History MA student who has been working with graphic design for ten years. His freelance work includes covers for several authors, as well as logos for websites and bands. He has also designed posters for the History faculty in Utrecht since he started there in 2008, and during the academic year 2010-2011 he chaired the imaging committee of the History Study Association UHSK.
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