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Studio projects Saturday June 17 2017 12:21 am

MF Cardamone XL clamshells

Over the past several years we’ve produced a number of clamshells for botanical artist MF Cardamone. Cardamone collects plant specimens and combines them with images and words that result in complex visual narratives that reveal the science, history, and beauty of her subjects. You can see her work here.

With a new body of work, she wanted 2 clamshells that would hold about twenty 18″ x 27″ pieces each.

Jill did a great job with producing the architecture of the clamshells and the large sheets of paste paper.

We’d done lots of largish clamshells, most notably for our Tour de Lead Graffiti series, but these are about 3″ wider and taller. It is strange how much more trouble comes from those 3″.

Below you can see an earlier 14″ x 20″ clamshell showing an example of Cardamone’s wonderful work.

Studio projects Wednesday September 28 2016 06:17 am

“If there’s a rule, there’s a smart way to break it”
Talk 4 of 4 at Kutztown University
September 2016

We didn’t want to repeat the intro to these talks all 4 times so you can read it for the first talk here.

Here are couple of preliminary thoughts that are the focus of the talks (all worth repeating) that are going to weave through most of these projects and talks.

• If there is a rule, there is usually a smart way to break it.
• Know the answer before you hear the question and then reword the question.
• Rage against the default in as many times and ways as you can.
• Fight any urge to take the easy way.

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Example #1 : Thunder Road for the Treehouse School of London

New Lead Graffiti friend, Mark Cashion, and old Lead Graffiti friend, Bill Roberts of Bottle of Smoke Press invited us to design the format, print the covers, and bind about 200 copies for a project to benefit the charity Ambitious about Autism, home of TreeHouse School in London.

Nick Hornby (a British author best known for his novels High Fidelity, About a Boy, and Fever Pitch) wrote Songbook, which included an essay published by McSweeney’s about his love of the song “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen. Mark and letterpress printer friend, Jim Camp, had the idea of reprinting Hornby’s Thunder Road essay, along with the lyrics to Springsteen’s song, to raise money for Ambitious about Autism. Proposals were made and permission was granted by both writers. The text for the essay and lyrics was designed and printed via letterpress in Los Angeles by Jim Camp at synaesthesia press.

While we were involved in the first stages of the project we suggested trying to get Springsteen to sign 30 or so of the copies which would be used for a deluxe version. We were told that he had already gently refused an initial request for just such an involvement. We thought, “What the hell” and set about to produce a hard cover version. We mocked up a prototype and Tray did a wonderful retouching job placing the text & graphics to create the finished look in hard cover form. This was resent to the Springsteen camp and…

We produced 200 soft cover books signed by Nick Hornby, 34 hard cover books signed by both Nick Hornby and Bruce Springsteen which were numbered A - Z. Six of the extra copies were produced as the deluxe deluxe copy which included a clamshell box and both the hard and soft cover versions of the books. These 6 copies were used as presentation copies to the 6 participants in the production of the project.

We love the idea of Bruce Springsteen writing “Lead Graffiti.”

“…Hey you’re alright
Oh and that’s alright with m.”

Example #2 : Arc de Triomphe finale

We wanted to include one of our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters where Ann Lemon was involved. For the first couple of years the final poster was more of just a listing of the various winners, times, etc. of the Tour de France. By the time we got to that point our brains could see the light at the end of the tunnel and it, along with our bodies, was starting to shut down and going into hybernation mode.

To fight off our inclination to do this one easy we got Ann, one of my favorite graduates from the Visual Communications Group at the University of Delaware, involved on the project.

In the past this final stage looped the Champs Élysées 8 times to finish the stage and the Tour. Ann stepped in and wanted the poster she was collaborating on to be a cool one, so she was having none of the hybernation strategy.

Those circular elements are from one of those sets of large checkers (the game) you see at Cracker Barrel restaurants. Ann’s son Amos did a killer job designing the Arc de Triomphe out of typography and rule.

Example #3 : Shakespeare and the Boston Marathon

This was an afternoon’s diversion. We had been thinking about doing a poster related to the Boston Marathon bombing, but had a hard time with what to do. One morning my computer reminded me that it was Shakespeare’s birthday. Surely, I thought, there must be a Shakespeare quote that would work.

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none” from All’s Well, that Ends Well worked perfectly.

You’ll notice that the word “Shakespeare” is a seemingly misprinted run with some blind debossing. I won’t get into it here, but to do that the poster was run through the press only one time. See if you can figure out how you could accomplish it.

Here is a bit of the explanation.

Example #4 : Il Pluet

There is a collaborative book project named “It’s a Small World” the originates out of England. The 5″ x 7″ book is produced by a variety of contributing presses which design one page about some element about printing.

We had done the project the previous year, using the opportunity to experiment with our Interype linecaster.

The Intertype is a fast way to produce “hot metal” type, but we took a different path this year.

One of the images Ray had on his shelf of visuals to use was the poem Il pluet (it’s raining), one of Guillaume Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, a term he coined early in the 20th Century for a “shaped poem.”

Casting each line based on the center location of each letter took us 6.5 hours. While I’m not sure our visual translation of Apollinaire’s poem into periods set the poetry world ablaze, it was a great way to spend a day and learn something about our Intertype and how you could control it.

Example #5 : Laboratory Press Projet

We ended each of our talks with a discussion of this project. You can jump over to the 1st of these 4 talks and read about it as Example #5. You can jump over to the 1st of these 4 talks and read about it.

Studio projects Monday September 26 2016 01:06 pm

“Fight any urge to do it the easy way”
Talk 3 of 4 at Kutztown University
September 2016

We didn’t want to repeat the intro to these talks all 4 times so you can read it for the first talk here.

Here are couple of preliminary thoughts (which is worth repeating) that are going to weave through most of these projects and talks.

• Fight any urge to take the easy way.
• If there is a rule, there is usually a smart way to break it.
• Know the answer before you hear the question and then reword the question.
• Rage against the default in as many times and ways as you can.

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Example #1 : Waldorf School of Philadelphia 8th grade diploma

Look at any diploma you’ve ever gotten. Honestly, for the people who normally do diplomas it is a lot easier to do a nice black one, stamp the name pretty easily (they’ve got that all pretty mechanized, where we have to set it by hand). We showed a nice certificate project back in Example 1 of talk 1 of 4 that you can look at.

Here are 2 more diplomish projects we’ve done. Kalmar Nyckel. We had great fun doing the border for it.

And the AAUW.

You could photocopy or inkjet print everyone of these, but where’s the fun in that.

Example #2 : Moments Carved in Paper

The books are fairly simple, both in their scale (5″ x 9″) and also in their construction (flutter book), but we find lots of ways to complicate things and hopefully make the stories in them interesting to the reader or book collector.

You can go to our blog entry about this book and also can see the other two books in the series so far (we should be finished with book #4 within 3 weeks) in our portfolio under “books.” They are right near the top.

Example #3 : All Preservation…

Would be interesting if we could go back and redo this poster now that we know a lot more about letterpress printing and do it the same way. It took Jill 6 hours to lay out the poster. Then it took me 8 hours of painstakingly leveling each piece of wood type (which was taken from our orphan type), raising them to the correct type-height to print well.

Jill also did that nice handrolling on the paper stock before printing the line. This was done to give out as a keepsake for an American Printing History Association national conference. We just put a stack of 125 of them on the registration table with a sign asking people to only take 1.

Great fun doing this poster and we love talking about it.

Example #4 : TdLG / Wind

This may be my favorite poster we did of the 115 we did for our Tour de Lead Graffiti project. I bounce around among about 5 of them.

The quick story is that crosswinds broke the peloton into 4 groups. The need to be able to draft the rider in front of you is important, and when you lose that, it is hard to get it back, even for the best cyclists on the planet.

You can read the whole story here.

Example #5 : Laboratory Press Projet (that is not a misspelling)

We are showing this as the 5th piece for each of the talks as we think it is a significant challenge that we can make to all of the students we are talking to. I’m not sure how many will hear what we are saying, but those that do should get a lifetime of better creative work. Read it at the bottom of the first talk here.

Studio projects Thursday September 22 2016 11:02 am

“Rage against the default”
Talk 2 of 4 at Kutztown University
September 2016

We didn’t want to repeat the intro to these talks all 4 times so you can read it for the first talk here.

Here are couple of preliminary thoughts (which is worth repeating) that are going to weave through most of these projects and talks.

• Rage against the default in as many times and ways as you can.
• Fight any urge to take the easy way.
• If there is a rule, there is usually a smart way to break it.
• Know the answer before you hear the question and then reword the question.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Example #1 : Col du Glandon

You can read the whole story with lots of pictures at the bottom by clicking here.

We’ve not been saying much about the Tour de Lead Graffiti project as a whole as we’ve just been focusing on a poster here and there. Below is the clamshell which we build to house the whole year’s set of posters. This one is for 2015. We produce special-made pastepaper for the cover of the clamshell.

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Example #2 : O’Connor / Wildman wedding invitation

When we do custom wedding invitations we typically interview the couple to find out something about them that will make a good invite. Erin and Ray made beer. It took about 3 minutes of talking to them before we came up with doing a set of 12 beer coasters. Honestly, just about as easy as that sounds.

You can read more of the story by clicking here and going to our portfolio page.

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Example #3 : Grateful Dead & Alphabetachaos

Click here for the story.

This piece is so new we’ve not even put it in our online portfolio.

You can click here to see a film we did of the lockup of the 3rd run on the alphabet along with how it looks doing the handrolling.

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Example #4 : Swarm of Bees

The whole story by clicking here

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Example #5 : Laboratory Press “Projet”

We repeat showing this project as the last example at each of the talks, so you can read it at the bottom of the first talk here.

talks Tuesday September 20 2016 06:27 am

“Know the answer before you hear the question”
Talk 1 of 4 at Kutztown University
September 2016

Ann Lemon, a former student and now Assistant Professor at Kutztown University, asked Jill and I to do 4 talks (consecutive Mondays and Wednesdays) to groups of about 25 of her students about letterpress, showing some of our work, and giving some advice about developing a creative process.The students, typically sophomore level, were enrolled in Ann’s “History of Graphic Design” course and many were taking beginning typography which fit nicely into the discussion with our work.

We thought we would write about the work we showed that might help them remember what they saw and thought we would start with an image from our website of some of the stuff that makes up the letterpress process.

1. copperplate of a tailpiece: a triangular graphic element typically used at the end of the last column of a story or book. We had this one made after scanning one in the type collection of a friend.

2. advertising cut: a zinc cut of a 24-bottle case of Coca-Cola bought on eBay.

3. leading: thin pieces of soft metal used as line spacing. Shown is 18 pica (6 picas = 1 inch) x 18, 12, 6, and 2 points (72 points = 1 inch).

4. wood type: Gill Sans (W), Kabel with circumflex (O), Cheltenham Outline (O), and multi-color chromatype (D). WOO came from eBay and the D was part of a 60 job case purchase from a collector.

5. reglet: thin wood spacing. Shown here is 20 pica x 12 and 6 points.

6. steel furniture: spacing typically used to fill in larger areas than leading or reglet. Shown is 20 pica x 5 and 2 pica.

7. ampersand in the middle is 96 point Caslon Italic metal foundry type (our largest metal type). We also have 72 and 84 point purchased from a letterpress friend.

8. copperplate of our Lead Graffiti logo started by scanning an 1885 British banknote and fooling around in Illustrator for a month.

9. composing stick with metal type: the composing stick is used to arrange type and spacing in a very solid rectangular shape that can be locked up for printing. Garamond 72 pt (M), Melior Italic 60 pt (E), Neuland 60 pt (T), Rubens 60 pt (A), and Outline 60 pt (L). Garamond was bought as part of a full run of roman and italic 14 - 72 point weighing approximately 1,700 pounds, Melior bought from a letterpress friend, Neuland through the LetPress listserv, Outline on eBay, and Rubens from the estate of a collector.

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We decided to base each of our talks on one of 4 topics that we’ve found to be bottlenecks to creative thinking, especially to younger design students. Each talk will include Lead Graffiti 4 projects (different for each group) and will end with a student “Projet” from the classes of Porter Garnett, director of the Laboratory Press at Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie-Mellon University.

• Know the answer before you hear the question and then reword the question.
• Rage against the default in as many times and ways as you can.
• Fight any urge to take the easy way.
• If there is a rule, there is usually a smart way to break it.

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Letterpress example #1: Roland Hoover “Lifetime Achievement Award” certificates

Roland is a real letterpress hero of ours. The chance to do something important FOR him was a real honor.

A few years ago we had bought a big run of Garamond metal type from him. The type was in galleys (metal trays) and as we put them away in our studio we were printing each galley of type as documentation. As we were doing this we took 1 sheet and overprinted each of the galleys onto the sheet (about 8 layers).

We decided to use the overprint as a thank you to Roland which you can see below. We often love disturbing the readability of type and this was a good outcome.

In 2010 the Chesapeake Chapter of the American Printing History Association wanted to honor Roland with a Lifetime Achievement Award. We jumped on the opportunity to do the certificate for the occasion and thought we would utilize the same overprinting using the Roland’s Garamond.

The border of the certificate reads “The Chesapeake Chapter | of the American Printing | History Association’s Life | time Achievement Award”. It took a while to get the type spaced evenly. We printed the border by rotating the locked-up type 90° and printing it 4 times. The first three runs are dark grey with the last run being in solid black to achieve a semblance of readability. The outside type is Roland’s Garamond. His name was in Neuland.

A year or so later a former student, Vince Straszewsk, emailed me with a request to help with a certificate for a graphic designer friend that had passed away. A group was forming an award in his name. The only rule was that the certificate needed to include the words “Explore every possibility” which was his design mantra.

We thought the border idea deserved another shot. Just this time we would use red, yellow, and blue color, with the required text on each side. The border type is Neuland and the inside is Garamond Italic.

Takeaway: Helmut Krone, one of my favorite couple of historically important art directors, once said to me, “You need to know the answer before you hear the question. Then all you have to do is reword the question to fit your answer.” I use to talk to my students about having ideas “on the shelf.” You constantly look for them. What could you do with this? How might this be applied? You get a picture in your head and then you put it on the shelf, to call down later when you need a solution. Doing the pieces that have little obvious value, because you can do so many of them and because they don’t carry much pressure, can offer important leaps in creativity in some future project.

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Letterpress example #2: Boxcards - These are notecards that we make every so often where we print on the actual packaged goods boxes that much of our food, beer, and softdrinks come in. We had always liked printing on cheap chip board, as we liked the industrial quality of it.

Printing ink is quite transparent except for the metallic ones. We got the idea of not printing the type, but printing everything but the type.

Once we had a booth at the National Stationery Show in NYC and a group from Boxcar (where we have our photopolymer plates made) stopped by the booth. We had about 30 of these cards hanging in the back of the booth. With the large type and the fact that they all have a similar visual quality, they recognized that these cards had been printed from their plates, but you could see that they just couldn’t figure out where all of the color was coming from. The plates only print the background of the type. We just let the color show through from whatever is on the card stock to fill the type.

Additionally, we showed the “Truth Beauty Now” business cards which we printed on the same kind of stock.

Takeaway: You can often take something you know and just turn it backwards or inside out. Look around you for problems to solve. No money, then don’t spend any. Think about what bothers you. We ended up selling around 3,000 of these cards to shops and online.

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Letterpress example #3: TdLG / Breakaway Peloton Rubberbands

You can get the long story about this poster by clicking here.

During our Tour de Lead Graffiti project we would often describe the relationship between the peloton (the main mass of cyclists) and the breakaway as having a rubberband tied between them. We decided we would illustrate that point by printing with rubberbands.

We had nails driven in strategic places to overlap the type, stretched some wide rubberbands across the sheet, and printed them. Then we moved the rubberbands to different nails and printed them in a second color. There is extra packing under the rubberbands to keep the nailheads from printing.

Takeaway: Listen to yourself. A lot of time you have something good to say, but you need to get past the fear of saying it.

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Letterpress example #4: “I found the one my heart loves”

The bride wanted to use the Song of Solomon verse that said, “I’ve found the one my heart loves.” In playing with the size of it eventually the line got large enough so the word “loves” was centered in the last panel. Everyone knows about a couple carving their initials in a tree like “JC+RN.” That gave us the idea to simpy say Hannah loves Jeremy on that final panel instead of the standard invitation design that says, “The parents of…” It was a nice way to single out the bride and groom from the rest of the invitation and at the same time find a new way to design a wedding invitation.

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Letterpress example #5: Projet

This is a student project from the Laboratory Press at Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1927. We think typographically it is about as nice as anything we’ve ever seen. And it is done with handset metal type. This would still be really hard on a computer if you knew were you were going. When working with handset metal type you would have to be constantly retrying various ways to get lines to come out evenly. Getting the sloping bottom of the text is killer hard.

Notice the way the top 2 lines fill the width of the page. And then the next two lines. The work on the tailpiece at the bottom is very well constructed with the ever-narrowing measure. Simply a stunning piece of handset metal type.

Then we showed James Victore afternoon diversion poster, “Any technology-aided shortcut robs you of the work.” We really believe this and it would often be nice for schools to not provide student designers with so much technical support.

James Victore said that really well with, “Any technology-aided shortcut robs you of the work.”

James does a wonderful set of podcasts that you can get to here. Google him as there is a lot of good advice he gives.

We gave away the TdLg and Victore poster to the two students who asked the most interesting questions during the Q & A after the session. A good group with a reasonable number of questions which was nice.

Studio projects Tuesday September 06 2016 02:36 am

If you know our Tour de Lead Graffiti work…

you’ll understand this.

Studio projects Saturday July 30 2016 12:06 pm

July 25 / Stage 21 / The podium at the end of the Tunnel

Clearly, a good year for our favorite overall cyclist in today’s cycling world. Chris Froome of Team Sky won his 3rd Tour de France by 04′05″, providing some very exciting stages. His major competitors simply hung on his wheel until they ran out of time to reduce his advantage. Peter Sagan of Tinkoff, a favorite sprinter (hard to root against Mark Cavendish as he closes in on the most Tour stage wins ever, winning 4 this year) won his 4th Green Jersey in as many years. He finished in the top 4 on 9 different stages and also won the jersey for Super-Combative. Rafael Majka also of Tinkoff, our favorite King of the Mountains winner from last year won again this year. Adam Yates of Orica-Bike Exchange won the best young cyclist jersey and he was exciting to watch. Clearly, his time on the podium is coming soon. Romain Bardet of AG2R La Mondiale, a Frenchman was 2nd in the Tour. We like good things happening for the French at the Tour de France. Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team, after 2 consecutive 2nd place finishes, came in 3rd. Coming in close must suck 3 years in a row. But then it is all better than coming in 4th and not being on the podium. Movistar won the team title.

Often Froome would challenge when clearly the best strategy would likely be to wait for someone else to challenge. His oddly strained-looking cycling style seems to never let on to anyone what he has left in his legs.

We thought we would show our favorite 3 final stage posters. Over the first 2 years we tended to provide the overall Tour information without much visual strategy to them. Then some interesting people got involved and things grew monumentally. Keep in mind, when we got up to do that last stage, we had been putting in 22 consecutive 17 hour days without any break of any kind. We were beat. We were beat. We were beat. We needed someone to help show us there was a light at the end of the stage.

There is a gentleman’s agreement to not challenge the leader after the next to last stage for the Yellow Jersey. Everything else is up for grabs.

André Greipel of Lotto Soudal, a strong sprinter over the past couple of years, had come up dry in the win category this year. You could see the pain on his face at the end of each sprint stage. But in the end he won the big one on the Champs-Élysées.

Click on any image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Collaborators were Ann Lemon and Amos Burkhart.

Collaborators were Rachel Strickland and Kayla Romberger.

Collaborators were Ann Lemon and Amos Burkhart.

Wow. Even doing this without printing any posters was some work. Fun work.

Studio projects Saturday July 30 2016 11:41 am

July 24 / Stage 20 / 10th nation win

We had a long-planned family trip that slowed down the posting of the final two stages of this Tour’s blog.

Stage 20, and the next to last stage, was mainly uneventful, so we thought it might be a good time to post a few favorites from past Tours that didn’t have a chance to get shown on earlier stages.

We’ll start with the next to last stage last year which was won by a Frenchman on the climb up Alpe d’Huez, one of the iconic Tour mountains.

Click on any image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Below was a stage that had one of the most spectacular applications of team strategy associated with it. The team destroyed the rest of the riders who were dreaming of wearing the Green Jersey.

Collaborators were Kieran & Hendrik-Jan Francke.

Below is one of our favorite posters highlighting a spectacular crash.

Stage 6 / Tour de Lead Graffiti 2012

And just to show we don’t always handle crashes the same way, we took the opportunity with the one below to use our wonderful wood type “S” that is broken in half. Perfect.

Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 7

Collaborators were Rebecca Johnson Melvin & Lucie Melvin.

And another crash below to sent Johnny Hoogerland flying 12 feet off the road, over his handlebars and into a barbed wire fence. Absolutely one of the most iconic couple of images from any tour over the past 4 decades. That was also the year we fell in love with Tommy Voeckler.

Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 9

Collaborators were Donna Globus & Paul Thompson.

You need to read the whole story of the hands on this one. Click on the image and find out Lucie’s input on this one. One of the most fabulous moments in our printing of the 115 posters we did over 5 years of the Tour.

Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 3

At this point we will stop. Everytime I look at another poster I find 2 I’d like to put up. We’ve loved a high percentage of the work we’ve done on this project.

Studio projects Friday July 22 2016 04:08 pm

July 22 / Stage 19 / A Frenchman. Finally.

Roman Bardet finally got a stage win for France today and a nice jump forward in the General Classification.

He now stands in 2nd place, Nairo Quintana in 3rd 16 seconds back, and Adam Yates in 4th only 35 seconds back. A podium win would be nice for the French also.

His win provides the perfect platform to use our Stage 18 for our 2015 Tour de Lead Graffiti, which is generally one of the top 2 or 3 most favorited prints of the total of 115. We think we even caught a quick glimpse of Didi (note the trident graphic on the poster which we always included on stages where we saw him).

You can see Didi with two of our collaborators 3 entries down in this blog.

Studio projects Friday July 22 2016 12:13 pm

July 21 / Stage 18 / ITT

This year’s Tour has two individual time trials. The second one was a 17k mountain stage. Froome has been slowly stretching out the gap between him and everyone else, but there are 6 or 7 that can see the possibility of being on the podium at the end of the Tour and that always leads to some aggressive riding.

Froome won this stage, putting more space between him and everyone else and putting to rest who is going to win the tour, as long as he can avoid a serious problem.

Stage 20 of our 2014 Tour de Lead Graffiti was one of my favorite individual time trial prints that we did with letterpress friend, Lauren Emeritz. We were starting to get into setting type in circular formations and this particular poster was the deciding factor that in 2015 we would try to do something circular in each stage poster.

The circular element was intended to mimic a clock face with the final tick marks highlighting the Italian and 2 French riders who would share the podium.

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

As we are getting close to the end and the last opportunities to highlight examples from our Tour de Lead Graffiti series, we though we would add another one here. Roman Bardet has an outside chance at being the only French cyclist on the podium. Back on Stage 11 of 2012 Froome and Bradley Wiggins (both from Great Britain) were number 1 and 2 for the Yellow Jersey and on the stage two French riders came in number 1 and 2.

Stage 11 / Tour de Lead Graffiti 2012

Kieran Francke & Lindsay Schmittle collaborated on this poster with us. One of our favorite uses of the handrolling technique we often employ, along with a bit of French. A fun poster.

Studio projects Thursday July 21 2016 06:52 pm

This made us smile

Back on Stage 7 of our 2015 Tour de Lead Graffiti we enjoyed the company of our collaborators, Melissa & Rob Ivone. Cavendish won #26 after a bit of a dryspell. Wow. That now seems so long ago now that he has 30.

We got an email from them today from the Tour de France. Viva Didi, as you can see in the photo below. There were a gazillion people along the 17k route at the race today. I find it amazing that they would cross paths and am one jealous letterpress printer.

Click on the image to see the story of Stage 7 of 2015.

They said they would be near the finish line tomorrow, so we get to scan the recording for them.

Seriously, how cool is that?

Studio projects Thursday July 21 2016 02:07 am

July 20 / Stage 17 / Fr(z)oome

It must be hard, being an international star of anything, but in this instance I’m talking about cycling, and going out against a Chris Froome, and there being nothing you can do to keep up.

Day after day, the top contenders for the Yellow Jersey get a little farther behind. I’ve often wondered if they wish for a catastrophic something or other to happen to him. Get sick. Crash. 20 flat tires in the same stage. Something.

But NO ONE is catching up on Chris Froome. They’ve got 3 more days. Froome’s got to be hurting, but then everyone is hurting.

Some of the people who are an hour behind him do better, but that is only because the Sky team looks at who is out there in front on a breakaway and says, “Don’t bother.”

Climbing the last of 4 climbs today, essentially the top 10 riders were in a group stretched our only about 30 meters. Someone challenges. No gain. Someone else challenges. No gain. Finally, someone interesting (Richie Porte who used to be on Froome’s team and they are still great friends), and Froome decides to jump on with him that they are gone.

So, in the end no one of significance gains time on Froome with Porte doing the best by being the only one that doesn’t loose time, with them both coming in with the same time. Seriously, that in itself is a real accomplishment.

We did the poster below for a ride with a similar result with Froome ending up on top at the top of a mountain that was really, really steep. Four of the best in the world got near the top and Froome just took off.

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Studio projects Tuesday July 19 2016 12:32 am

July 18 / Stage 16 / Two guys, but Sagan…

The stage today had an outstanding possibility. Two good riders from the same team got away by themselves. Seldom do they let one good one away. Almost never 2. For a long while it appeared they had a good shot, but at this time in the tour, with a stage that is a good one for the sprinters, there are just too many teams without a win to not work extra hard at avoiding a breakaway win.

Despite an impressive display of power, Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) couldn’t offer teammate Julian Alaphilippe the win that it looked like he might get a couple of days ago when he crashed on the downhill of Mont Ventoux.

On Stage 19 last year 2 riders from the same team pulled of one of the most remarkable strategies I’ve ever seen in a tour stage. It’s complicated, so I’ll just encourage you to read the story by clicking on the poster below so you can read it for yourself.

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Joel Ouellette, Kyle Ward were collaborator on the print.

Peter Sagan won todays stage, but we were kind of rooting for a last ditch effort from the team of Dimension Data. The South African team racing on Nelson Mandella Day and winning would have been really nice.

It is worth showing Steve Cumming’s poster from Stage 12 of 2015 when from the South African team won on Mandela Day. We were screaming for him. A great read if you click on the image.

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Joel Ouellette was a collaborator on both of these posters highlighted. Hmmm.

Studio projects Sunday July 17 2016 10:11 pm

July 17 / Stage 15 / Majka and Col du Colombier

We’ve been looking for a good reason to use both of the Tour de Lead Graffiti posters we’ve highlighted today.

Rafael Majka won major “King of the Mountains” points over the tops of the final 2 of 7 categorized climbs (actually there were 11 climbs with something like 15,000 feet of climbing) even though he couldn’t pull off the stage win.

A breakaway that started with nearly 30 riders slowly came apart until there was Majka and
Jarlinson Pantano fighting it out and both coming in with the same time.

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Collaborators were Kieran and Hendrik-Jan Francke. H-J did our website for us and Kieran (who did a poster for all 5 years) was his then 12-year-old son.

For the circles we looked everwhere in our local Home Depot. Eventually we settled on using a 3.875″ circle die we had, cutting the circles out of book board, and printing from them.

The major out-of-category climb of the day was the Col du Grand Colmbier which we highlighted on our Stage 10 poster in 2012. Look at the view of the road, which winds up the edge of two facets of the mountain.

This year they actually rode up Colombier and down to the bottom, rode over to another ascent road and did it again from a different side. They didn’t go quite all the way to the top the second time, but it was a major climb nonetheless.

We loved doing the type illustrating the switchbacks with subtle curves to the type. This poster was a lot of fun to do. Circles are gut out of oak dowel.

Stage 11 / Tour de Lead Graffiti 2012

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Col du Grand Colombier

Studio projects Sunday July 17 2016 05:08 am

July 16 / Stage 14 / Cavendish wins #30

Two Tours ago Mark Cavendish crashed on the opening stage and was out of the tour. Last year he won only 1 stage and it seemed like there was going to be a new king in town and there was simply no way to imagine his challenging the 34 stage win record of Eddie Merckx. But he has been training for the Olympics, which requires more strength, and that strategy seems to be paying off with his 4th stage win of this year’s Tour.

So, Cavendish got his 30th stage win.

We will jump back to our Tour de Lead Graffiti poster when he got his 19th back on stage 15 in 2011 and 35 seemed a long way off. We are definitely back on track with that the possibility.

Tour de Lead Graffiti

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Collaborators were Beth Horwitz and Mike Roth.

Another thing we saw in the stage during the program was an unusually large number of riders stopping for “natural breaks.” That is they needed to stop and take a leak along the side of the road.

This was the topic of our poster for Stage 4 of 2012, which I’ve always thought was an interesting visual solution for a poster about urinating. We really invite you to click the image and read the original story.

Stage 4 / Tour de Lead Graffiti 2012

Click on the image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Collaborators on this poster were Rebecca Johnson Melvin and Terre Nichols.

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