Graphic designer scoops Erasmus 2006

A graphic designer whose clients include France’s Louvre Museum has been awarded the Erasmus Prize 2006 for his exemplary contribution to European culture, society and social science.

Paris-born Pierre Bernard scooped the annual prize of €150,000 for his exceptional efforts in the category of ‘design for the public domain.’

According to the Board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, which selected the 64-year-old as the winner, the category includes design in the realm of the state, politics and the common good.

The Foundation said in choosing Bernard, whose creations have shaped a range of real-world concepts ranging from corporate identities to poster design, they were recognisng today’s designer as a thinker, not as “an aloof specialist.”

In a statement, the organisers explained, “In making this choice for the public domain the Foundation did not consider the designer who functions as a specialist in form, fashion and market, but rather the designer as thinker who during the design process is conscious of forms of interaction with other disciplines, with users and commissioning parties.”

They added that whether looking at Bernard’s solo projects, or at work carried out in the design consultancies he founded, the designer continually maintained an exemplary intellectual approach.

Research carried out for his portfolio of projects, which include French national parks and Paris's Pompidou Centre, covers not just form, but also content, context and the process of commission.

Over his career, his design work has focused heavily on the public domain, the communication within and communication between state and citizens.

In addition, his projects are seen as best practice examples of use and orientation in the physical space of town and country, and concentrate on presenting and representing contemporary cultural heritage.

The panel of awarding independent judges added praise for Bernard's personal values, which they said were instrumental in achieving such vivid designs from a blend of science, arts and visual communication.

The praise was evidenced in Foundation literature by the quote, “Graphic design will not turn the world into a paradise, but it may contribute to a more humane world.”

The presentation of the Erasmus prize will take place on November 24 2006.


15th March 2006

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