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Personal & Workshops Saturday October 11 2014 08:44 am

What would a good student do?

I’ve been thinking about writing this entry for a while as I often bring it up in Lead Graffiti’s workshops. It would be good if we could get students to read it before they came.

When I was teaching in the Visual Communications Group at the University of Delaware, to add a bit of pressure to my students, I would often raise the question “What would a good student do? Right here. Right now.” to turn a simple opportunity into a miracle.

Most all educational programs do a reasonable job of exposing their students to educational opportunities, but the question is often, what does the student do with that opportunity. Some teachers probably give better assignments. Some schools have more or better field trips & speakers. And they all have libraries. Everyone has access to almost every website, blog, tweet and photograph on the planet.

We’ve had some 850 students over the past 5 or so years who have interacted with Lead Graffiti through workshops, tours & shorternships. Sometimes professors through their classes drag their students through the experience and at other times it is a choice that the student has scheduled and paid for on their own.

We at lead Graffiti surely think that one of our workshop experiences has value, but we’d like for it to have 5 times the value. We give the studio tour. We show some of what we think is our best work and we show work from a number of other letterpress shops. But to really find a way to take the experience up a couple notches we need a bit of help from the student.

I’m writing this with the notion that you’ll find yourself sitting in a letterpress workshop in Lead Graffiti This is a different place than you’ve ever been, organized in a way you couldn’t possibly understand if you had a week, working in a technology (or maybe a non-technology) and a process you don’t know, probably using a measurement system you might barely know, and you are asked to do a creative project without sketches. You cannot possibly know  what to do.

Just ask yourself the question, “What would a good student do?” “Right now.” “Here.

My additional advice is to ask it 150 times that day.

I, for one, do not believe there are no bad questions. There are a gazillion bad questions. They are the ones that don’t move you anywhere. “Do you like working with letterpress?” Duh. “Why do you like working with letterpress?” may get the discussion to a place you need.

You need to find the time to ask a dozen good questions over the day. 10 of you will generate 120 good questions. Some will have good answers. And it is a good idea to ask them so the other students hear those answers. And for them to ask good questions so you can hear those answers. It needs to be a question that a good student would ask. One that moves their work forward and not sideways. It needs to be a question that gets the answers to a number of other questions and also setting up even better questions. Sometimes a good student will just stand close.

What would a good student do? Right here. Right now.

Take a look at our online portfolio and see the things we’ve done that interest you. Bring it up when we are showing work. If we don’t show it ask us to. “How did you get the work?” “Did it lead anywhere?” “What is it about that piece that would make you to want to put it in your portfolio?”

Lunch is a good time when things are calmer and everyone is within hearing range.

An interesting things about asking yourself “What would a good student do?” is that it doesn’t take any more time to do it than to not do it.

Studio projects Tuesday September 30 2014 01:30 pm

October 2014 Lead Graffiti events

Saturday, September 28 - Creative Letterpress workshop with the Delaware College of Art & Design. This was the first of the new series of meander books entitled “All I know is…”.


Friday - Sunday, October 4-6 - Oak Knoll Fest XVIII. We will have a table and will be introducing our 2014 Tour de Lead Graffiti clamshell box edition and a new book series entitled Moments Carved in Paper.

Saturday, October 11 - Graw Day. Havre de Grace, MD. We will have a table and are bringing our Vandercook SP15 where we will be printing posters with spectator participation.

Sunday, October 12 - Lancaster Letterpress Printers Fair. We will have a table.

Monday, October 13 - Jim Moran, Museum Director at the Hamilton Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin will be in the studio.

Monday, October 13 - 20 - Virginia Green, letterpress printer and professor of graphic design at Baylor University, will be in the studio for a week of impressions, thoughtful discussion, and workshop ideation.

Saturday, October 18 - Philadelphia University typography class with Rose DiSanto.

Saturday, October 25 - Philadelphia University typography class with Laurie Churchman


Saturday, November 8 - Philadelphia University typography class with Eric Karnes

Studio projects Monday August 04 2014 08:00 am

Middlebury, VT Gran Fondo newspaper article

The Vermont independent newspaper, Seven Days, had an article on the Gran Fondo cycling event held in and around Middlebury, Vermont. We were invited to exhibit our 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti posters produced while following the Tour de France. The article used our Stage 13 poster to illustrate the article.

You can click on the image to see a larger image of the article. The mention of our exhibition about Tour de Lead Graffiti is in the middle of the 5th column.
Tour de Lead Graffiti article. You can read the article here.

Studio projects Saturday August 02 2014 09:53 am

Lead Graffiti poster frames

We’ve been wanting to do something to our display wall in Lead Graffiti for a couple of years and we finally did it. Once we started doing our Tour de Lead Graffiti project it kind of took over. It was such a major project in our lives that we wanted to keep it displayed. At the same time it took up a lot of space.

We were looking around for a frame that would both be fairly cheap or easy to make and easy to hang with minimal damage to the walls. We also love that our posters are printed on wonderful paper with a nice texture and have the deckle-edge along the top and bottom.

Well, this is what we came up with.

The sides, at least on the 50 frames we made to start, are oak. Along the inside of the frame sides is a gentle curve routed 1/16″ wide by about 1/4″ deep into the wood (70″ radius if you are interested) into which you can slide one of our posters. In the top crossbar we’ve inserted two hooks across which you could stretch a wire for hanging. We’ve also drilled two holes at a slight angle into which you and insert a thin brad (nail) to make the smallest hold possible in your wall. The frames and posters are very light and do not need much support.

Generally speaking, our posters are always 14.5″ x 22.5″ (essentially half of a sheet of Somerset Textured paper. In the frame the poster has a gentle curve which is supported by the crossbar supports for the frame, giving light a chance to show the texture more than if it was framed flat. We aren’t exactly sure how light fast the inks are that we are using and with the difficulty more and more to getting quality ink for letterpress, it is probably better to keep any poster out of bright sunlight.

If you come by our studio you can see the display and how it works.

At least for the moment the frames are sanded, raw wood.

We are selling them for $45 and should fit most of our posters. In the earlier days our posters were 14.75″ wide. Usually there is no problem trimming them down to the 14.5″. All of our recent posters are the narrower dimension.

Studio projects Saturday August 02 2014 09:11 am

Anne Frank, August 4, 1944

It was Friday, August 4, 1944 that 15-year old Anne Frank wrote the final entry in her everlasting diary.

“… Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be ill, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up any more, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if … if only there were no other people in the world.”

Yours, Anne M. Frank

Some days we love words and books a bit extra. Sunday, August 3 will be a good day to make a book and talk about diaries and journals. We’ll start at 10am for anyone that wants to join us in our studio in making one of their own. Might be a nice day for a mother / daughter or sister / sister day together. Know any? No fee. We’ll supply the materials.

It’s probably a good idea for anyone that is interested in joining us to let us know. Email Ray.

Studio projects Sunday July 27 2014 11:24 am

Poster winners for Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014

This is who we think all of the winners are. If you have an argument let me know.

Stage 1 - no competition
Stage 2 - Jamie McLennan | poster
Stage 3 - no competition
Stage 4 - Jeff Kopay (2 minutes) | poster
Stage 5 - Karla Cushman (1 hour 33 minutes) | poster
Stage 6 - Meg Mahoney (6 minutes) | poster | picked up
Stage 7 - Kory Walton (42 minutes) | poster
Stage 8 - Jeff Kopay (1 hour) | poster
Stage 9 - Mark Rutt | poster
Stage 10 - Gerald Pugh (12 minutes) | poster
Stage 11 - Michael Richards (1 minute) wins this one and another of his choice, Gerald Pugh (2 minutes), & Nina Ardery wins this one by describing it | poster
Stage 12 - Sara Twist (2 minutes) | poster
Stage 13 - no competition
Stage 14 - Nina Ardery (1 hour 27 minutes) | poster
Stage 15 - Jamie McLennan (5 minutes) | poster
Rest day #2 - Laura Pugh (3 hours 28 minutes) | poster
Stage 16 - Attie Blu Langley (1 hour 6 minutes) | poster
Stage 17 - Ethan Midnite (5 minutes) & Karla Cushman (off by 6 minutes) | poster
Stage 18 - Kory Walton (1 minute) | poster
Stage 19 - Gerald Pugh (dead on) | poster
Stage 20 - Jamie McLennan (dead on) | poster
Stage 21 - no competition

Remember, you can pick them up at the studio for free or we can mail them to you with you paying the shipping cost. Multiples will be grouped as best we can.

Trying to organize shipping below.

Jamie McLennan / 2, 15, 20 | mailed
Jeff Kopay / 4, 8 | mailed
Karla Cushman / 5, 17
Meg Mahoney / 6 | picked up
Kory Walton / 7, 18 | pick up
Mark Rutt / 9
Gerald and Laura Pugh / 10, 11, rest day #2, 19
Michael Richards / 11, 16 | mailed
Nina Ardery / 11, 14 | mailed
Sara Twist / 12
Attie Blu Langley / 16 | picked up
Ethan Midnite / 17 | mailed

Studio projects Friday July 18 2014 12:27 pm

VCUK’14 British Library exhibition selfies

Our good friend and former teaching colleague, Bill Deering, was in London with a Visual Communications study abroad group when our exhibition opened at The British Library. We asked Bill to ask the students to shoot a ’selfie’ of them with the exhibition and we would offer our favorite the chance to work with us on 1 of our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters.

We had David Jones, Bill Roberts, Jill, Tray, and I to help us choose the best ones. In the end we though we would offer to it to 4 that our group liked the best. These were our top 4 in no particular order.

We liked that Chris Miello picked a heavy print to balance on his head.

Erica Holland’s “OMG! They crashed?”

Krista Adams took the opportunity to take a break.

Olivia Prinzi did a nice, slow motion video (really nice hair) of her running through the exhibition. We especially liked the idea that she was RUNNING through the exhibition. We’ll see what The British Library thinks after I send the the link to this entry.

The four student were offered Stage14, Saturday, July 19. Drop in and see what they come up with.

Olivia turned us down as she it in Rome, Italy. Sad to see that student’s excuses haven’t gotten any better since I was teaching in Visual Communications.

Studio projects & Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014 Thursday July 10 2014 01:34 am

Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014 stage schedule

This note shows the stages with collaborators working with Lead Graffiti on the Tour de Lead Graffiti poster series. At this point there were/are 20 stages when we had collaborators involved which is the easily the most for the 4 years we’ve been doing this project.

You can click on an image size (512 pixels wide | 1000 pixels wide) to see the route over a map.

If the collaborator has worked with us on previous stages, the year at the end of their name will link you to any poster they worked on. 15 down & 8 to go.

. . .

Stage 1, Saturday, July 5 - Leeds - Harrogate / 191 km (flat)
. . . Collaborator: Adam DelMarcelle / Silkscreen & letterpress printer | 2013
. . . Collaborator: Brian Campbell / cyclist

Stage 2, Sunday, July 6 - York - Sheffield / 198 km (hilly) *
. . . Collaborator: Rebecca Johnson Melvin / manuscript librarian | 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013

Stage 3, Monday, July 7 - Cambridge - London / 159 km

Stage 4, Tuesday, July 8 - Le Touquet - Paris-Plage / 164 km (flat stage)
. . . Collaborator: Belinda Haikes / professor & gallery director
. . . Collaborator: Diane Zatz / professor | 2011

Stage 5, Wednesday, July 9 - Ypres - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut / 156 km (flat with 9
sections & 15.4 km of cobblestones) *
. . . Collaborator: Mark Deshon | 2013 (poster shown in Sports Illustrated article)

Stage 6, Thursday, July 10 - Arras - Reims / 194 km (flat)
. . . Collaborator: Cate Currier / printmaking MFA student
. . . Collaborator: Brian Wagner / printmaking MFA student

Stage 7, Friday, July 11 - Épernay - Nancy / 233 km (flat)

Stage 8, Saturday, July 12 - Tomblaine - Gérardmer La Mauselaine / 161 km (medium mountain) *
. . . Collaborator: Ethan Mann / writer about gadgets and cycling
. . . Collaborator: Stephanie Wolfe / bookarts artist / letterpress printer

Stage 9, Sunday, July 13 - Gérardmer - Mulhouse / 166 km (hilly / 2, 2, 3) *
. . . Collaborator: Rebecca Johnson Melvin / manuscript librarian | 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013

Stage 10, Monday, July 14 (Bastille Day) - Mulhouse - La Planche des Belles Filles / 161 km (mountain / 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 1, 1) - we call this the zipcode stage) *

Rest Day 1, Tuesday, July 15 - Besançon
. . . Collaborators: Don Starr & Joe Smith / Glyph, Brian Jachens / design intern at Glyph

Stage 11, Wednesday, July 16 - Besançon - Oyonnax / 186 km (hilly / 3, 3, 4, 3)
. . . Collaborator: David Jones / graphic designer
. . . Collaborator: Bill Roberts / letterpress printer | 2011, 2011, 2011, 2012, 2013

Stage 12, Thursday, July 17 - Bourg-en-Bresse - Saint-Étienne / 183 km (hilly / 4, 3, 3, 4)
. . . Collaborator: Megan Zettlemoyer / letterpress printer | 2011, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013

Stage 13, Friday, July 18 - Saint-Étienne - Chamrousse / 200 km (mountain / 3, 1, HC / with mountain top finish) *
. . . Collaborator: Jessica Koman, designer | 2013
. . . Collaborator: Terre Nichols, art director

Stage 14, Saturday, July 19 - Grenoble - Risoul / 177 km (high mountain - 1, HC, 1 / mountain top finish) *
. . . Collaborator: Krista Adams / graphic designer
. . . Collaborator: Erica Holland / graphic designer
. . . Collaborator: Christopher Melillo / graphic designer

Stage 15, Sunday, July 20 - Tallard - Nîmes / 222 km
. . . Collaborator: Sara Twist / Raven Press Award ‘14
. . . Collaborator: Andy Flores / graphic designer

Rest Day 2, Monday, July 21 - Carcassonne

Stage 16, Tuesday, July 22 - Carcassonne - Bagnères-de-Luchon / 237 km (high mountain / 4, 4, 2, 3, HC) *
. . . Collaborator: Lori Schmittle / mom
. . . Collaborator: Lindsay Schmittle / letterpress printer | 2012, 2013

Stage 17, Wednesday, July 23 - Saint-Gaudens - Saint-Lary-Soulan Pla d’Adet / 125 km (high mountain / 1, 1, 1, HC / mountain top finish) *
. . . Collaborator: Kieran Francke / kid letterpress printer
. . . Collaborator: Hendrik-Jan Francke | 2011, 2012, 2013

Stage 18, Thursday, July 24 - Pau - Hautacam / 145 km (high mountain - 3, 3, HC / Col du Tourmalet, HC / with mountain top finish) *
. . . Collaborator: Craig Welsh / designer
. . . Collaborator: Jordan Grove / intern
. . . Collaborator: Nick Stover / intern
. . . Collaborator: Ann Lemon / designer, educator | 2013

Stage 19, Friday, July 25 - Maubourguet Pays du Val d’Adour - Bergerac / 208 km (flat)
. . . Collaborator: Kyle Ward / graphic designer
. . . Collaborator: Joel Ouellette / graphic designer

Stage 20, Saturday, July 26 - Bergerac - Périgueux (ITT) - 54 km (flat / individual time trial) *
. . . Collaborator: Lauren Emeritz

Stage 21, Sunday, July 27 - Évry - Paris Champs-Élysées / 136 km (flat)
. . . Collaborator: Rachel Strickland / cyclist
. . . Collaborator: Kayla Romberger / wanna be letterpress printer

* Bicycling Magazine’s can’t-miss stages

Studio projects Monday July 07 2014 01:57 pm

London bombing 7th anniversary / July 7, 2007

With the Tour de France headed at high speed toward London it hard not to think about the events 7 years ago. A group of terrorists bombed the London Tube system along with a bus.

Jill and I were with Bill Deering on a Visual Communications study abroad with about 2 dozen students.

This is a Google aerial photo of the area. Our apartment patio is in the circle in the upper right. The circle in the lower left is the location of the bus that was bombed.

We had a group of 4 students who were coming over to our apartment for a bookbinding workshop. They were in the elevator when the bus bomb went off. I walked out to the balcony to look down the street to see what had happened.

I needed to run down to Faulkiner’s to buy a few supplies and walked right to the corner at the bombing. Probably one of only 5 times I was on the streets of London without my camera or I might have had the shot that went around the world. The New York Times called us about 2 hours later to see if we had any photo. A former student is a photo editor at the NYT.

While I was standing on the corner maybe 100 feet from the bus when the police swarmed the area, I was the absolute first person they told to back up.

Definitely a strange day in my life.

Studio projects Monday June 30 2014 12:43 pm

Hanging the British Library exhibition

Our British Library friend, Matthew Shaw, sent some photos of the start to the hanging of the exhibition of 24 of the poster sheets from our 2012 & 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti clamshell box editions. How exciting is that?

Bill Deering, Ray’s former teaching colleague, is in London on a 5-week London study abroad program with a group of about 20 design seniors from the Visual Communications Group at the University of Delaware. Jill and I co-directed the trip with Bill from 2001 - 2005.

We’ve issued a challenge for Bill to pass along to the students that we hope at least a couple take us up on. We’ve offered a collaboration to work with us on one of the Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014 posters with one or more of the students who provide us with the best ’selfie’ of them with some element of the exhibition.

We’ll see what happens, but it would be great to get a couple interpretive shots.

A couple possibilities that come to mind. 1) One student in front of each holding their camera as if they are going to shoot a selfie and then someone else actually shooting a selfie with the other selfies in the background. 2) The students talk the British Library into letting each of them bring a bicycle into the exhibition and photograph the bike taking a selfie. I’ll bet no one ever in the history of the British Library has ever been allowed to bring a bicycle into the building. I wonder who you would have to talk to get that permission? 3) The students looking like they are a peloton moving by the exhibition but all taking selfies at the same time. Now wouldn’t it be cool if the person taking the bigger photo could do a bit of a timed photo (maybe 1 second exposure) and all of the other students could flash their camera during that 1 second so everyone seemed to be flashing simultaneously. 4) All of the students shooting a simultaneous selfie but with Michael Johnson (one of my most favorite British designers) in front. That give me goosebumps just thinking about it.

Oh, well. Just a few ideas off the top of my head.

British Library Tour de Lead Graffiti exhibition July 2014

Studio projects & Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014 Sunday June 29 2014 12:23 pm

Some Tour de France facts

With The Tour de France only a week away, the English city of Leeds is gearing up for the Grand Départ on July 5. The race is a small city on wheels, complete with everything from doctors to police officers. Here are a few notable numbers provided by the Amaury Sport Organisation in advance of the Tour.

The race
198 riders
22 teams
300 support staff

The route
21 stages
4 countries visited (the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Spain)
662 municipalities visited (611 in France, 39 in the United Kingdom, 9 in Belgium, 3 in Spain)

Publicity caravan
170 vehicles
600 people

Spectators on the roadside (in 2013)
12 million spectators
38 different nationalities identified
Six and a half hours of presence on average on the roadside

100 permanent Amaury Sport Organisation staff
280 temporary staff
1,450 beds reserved every day for the organizers and teams

Medical service
10 emergency doctors, 1 anaesthetist nurse
6 ambulances, 2 medical emergency cars, 1 bike, 1 X-ray truck

47 republican guard motorcycle police officers
13 police officers in the permanent police commission on the Tour
14,000 gendarmes and 9,000 police officers and CRS riot police mobilized

TV broadcasting
Broadcast in 190 countries
90 hours of live programs
3.5 billion viewers worldwide (in 2013)

Inventory / important type & Studio projects & Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014 Friday June 27 2014 01:15 pm

Display typefaces for Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014

Each of the three years we’ve been doing our Tour de Lead Graffiti project we’ve used a different set of two main typefaces. Forcing these typefaces onto the series of 23 posters provides both an element of continuity as well as giving us something to play with.

We don’t give much through to how well the two typefaces work together, but rather just two typefaces that might be fun to use together. This year we are making Neuland (top) into wood type and Jefferson Gothic (bottom) into copperplates.

We have both typefaces as part of our metal type collection (Neuland in 24, 36 & 48 point and the Jefferson Gothic in 60 & 72 point) and we regularly use them.

Each year we do some typographic element to represent ‘riders.’ This year we created the >> in Jefferson Gothic for this purpose. We had 24 of them made. We thought they might look good to represent the peloton when it is stretched single-file or maybe just piled on each other for a major crash.

. . .

Below are two pieces using our metal type versions of the typefaces.

Neuland was used as the outside border for a certificate requested by a former student of Ray’s to remember a friend with a strong interest in typography who used to say “explore every possibility.” We would set one side of the border and then print it four times, rotating the square piece of paper 90° each time. The next time we would move the first word to the third word so that the quote would continue to wrap around the certificate. The layers were printed in red, yellow, & blue. We printed the darker blue on top to help the type read.

This poster uses both of the typefaces. The Jefferson Gothic is quite condensed which is a type quality we’ve really come to enjoy using in our work.

Handsetting metal type rules

Both display faces are always made into 12 line (12 picas or 2 inches) utilizing only the uppercase letters. That makes them large enough to take up some visual real estate, but not so big as to discourage too many compositional options.

The Neuland wood type is cut out with a CNC router using an Illustrator file we made from a scan of the original typeface from a 1932 type catalog. The image below shows us in the process of routing the typeface.

routing Neuland wood type

The Jefferson Gothic is from our metal type, also using some different letter variations we have in a typeface called Phoenix. We’ll see how they work out. Because the Jefferson Gothic is so condensed the router bit wouldn’t do a very good job of cutting into those arrow inside corners and the copperplate version avoids that problem.

For anyone that is wondering the cost, the copperplates was $415 and the wood type was essentially $250 for the wood (made by a Pennsylvania woodworker out of random pieces of endgrain rock maple and $200 for the routing from a nearby sign shop. We actually did the routing work ourselves and just paid to rent the machine because we wanted to understand all of the details to help us with making more wood type in the future. Both typefaces were made with essentially the 3A fonting scheme. For non-letterpress pieces that means “A=3, B=2, C=2, D=2, E=4 and so on. We also cut most all of the accents

Honors, awards, media & news Thursday June 26 2014 11:07 pm

WHYY-TV show

You can watch the segment WHYY-TV produced on Lead Graffiti below. It was shown June 20, 2014.

Honors, awards, media & news & Studio projects Friday June 20 2014 11:36 am

British Library exhibition poster listing

The British Library exhibition in London will show posters from the 2013 and 2012 editions of our Tour de Lead Graffiti project. They are including 9 of the stage posters plus the title page, descriptive page, and the composite print. The British Library, who were early purchasers of our 2011 edition are one of only a few that have all three composites as we did it more for a test the first year.

The Tour de France starts in England this year with the third stage ending in London.

It would be so much fun to be in London for both the Tour and the exhibition, but there is no way to do this year’s edition of the project and be here and there. We chose here.

Here are the posters from the 2013 edition. The 2013 Tour de France was won by British rider Chris Froome.

Here are the posters from the 2012 edition. The 2012 Tour de France was won by British rider Bradley Wiggins.

In addition The British Library has decided to put together an exhibition of the poster images in the new display area of their Boston Spa Reading Room in Yorkshire. This is quite close to where this year’s Tour de France will start.

Honors, awards, media & news & Studio projects Wednesday June 18 2014 02:21 pm

BL, f1rst, TdLG + …


An exhibition of 20 posters from our 2012 and 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti editions opens at The British Library opens on July 3. The exhibition will run through November. The Tour de France this year has the first 2 stages in England. An interesting element to the exhibition is that Bill Deering has his Visual Communications study abroad group in England at the moment and they are going to see the exhibition on the 7th. So they will go to England and see an exhibition of a place they’ve visited here in Newark, Delaware.

We are offering a collaboration to work with us on one of the posters once they’ve returned to the U.S.  to the student that sends us the best ’selfie’ taken at the exhibition. That should be kind of fun.

. . . WHYY

WHYY, the PBS station here, has produced a 3-minute film on Lead Graffiti and it is being shown for the first time on Friday, June 20 at 5:30 pm and 11:00 pm. The show is called “f1rst”. It will also air over the weekend and then again on Monday the 23rd. After that it will be viewable online.

The film crew scheduled to come in for 3 hours ended up staying for more than 6. There is a lot of stuff to shoot in our studio and they seemed to want to shoot it all. It will be interesting to see how 6 hours compresses into 3 minutes.

. . . TOUR de LEAD GRAFFITI 2014

We are 18 days from the start of our 4th annual Tour de Lead Graffiti. We follow the Tour de France live on TV each morning and translate the day’s events into a poster printed via letterpress. We have collaborators scheduled for about half of the days. You can see our daily schedule by clicking here. The Tour runs through July 27. It is about a 15 hour day for 23 consecutive days. We call it “endurance letterpress.”

We just finished printing the signature blocks on approximately 1200 sheets of paper which will be used for the posters. As they do in the Tour de France the opening moment of each stage is the riders signing in to ride. We do the same thing as our first act once we get to the studio by signing the 45 sheets we start with for each poster.

The final outcome of our printing is a clamshell box holding the 23 posters, a title page, a descriptive page, a project colophon, and a composite print which has EVERY run for EVERY poster overprinted onto a single sheet. Collaborators each get two copies of the the poster from their day and we usually have an additional 10 or so that we sell and sometimes giveaway to deserving letterpress devotees.

We are starting production of this year’s wood type which will help provide continuity across so many posters. This year’s type is going to be Neuland and Jefferson Gothic. We always make two typefaces for each year. The type will be 2″ high. It will be interesting with the Neuland as it is a fairly wide typeface.


Middlebury, Vermont held its first annual Gran Fondo cycling event and helped promote the day with an month-long exhibition of our 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti posters. We designed an interesting hanging system for the exhibition which we plan on using for future exhibitions. More on that later.

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