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Studio projects Saturday October 18 2014 10:28 am

Philadelphia University / October 18, 2014

We are going to try and write at least a couple of things about each workshop we do and maybe single out a couple of pages that have something worth mentioning. Not so much as to describe the events of the workshops, but to expand on some of the things that tend to happen ‘around’ the workshop.

This is the second Creative Letterpress workshop using “All I know is…” as the start of the text for each of the pages. We did a much better job of setting it up this time, trying to push students to say something meaningful.

Above you can see the lockup for the 2nd color on the left and the final, 2-color broadside on the right. You can click on the image and see it double sized.

On the broadside on the right the 1st and 3rd rows have been rotated to orient all of the pages the same.

You can click here to see an idea of the final form of the book.


One of the things that is apparent in looking back at this and other workshops is our experience with letterpress and these workshops is that we seem to have the ability to see the difference between a student making a mistake that is truly a mistake and a mistake that is truly a wonderful accident. Misspelling the word “devil” by setting “dveil” is probably just a mistake. But turning a capital E backwards might be a wonderful accident because it looks like a trident and turning it backwards makes it stand out. No one would notice it might be a trident if you put the letter in the correct orientation, because it would just be an E.

This page from the workshop had a nice element of rotating the Es which connects the experience very distinctly to letterpress. This is strangely easy to do in metal type and really, really hard to get to it in InDesign.

The page below did a great job of illustrating the sun with the use of two typefaces, one light and condensed and the other with an extreme difference between thick and thin. The use of the ‘fist’ for the “I” in “RISE” works quite nicely. The typefaces give a nice sense of glow to the sun. Probably worth mentioning that “I” at the top which is an “H” rotated 90 degrees. Piece works quite well and in a way that I suspect wouldn’t be a very logical path on the computer. We would love to see this lead to a logical path on a computer.


It is amazing how useful a smartphone can be and at the same time how awful. We sent a nice long note to the students trying to help them prepare for the workshop. We wrote what we thought was a good note about “What would a good student do?” on our blog to encourage students to be actively involved, asking good questions, standing close, etc. Not one of the students read it beforehand. I suspect that they read the original note on their phones and it is just too hard to follow through on the details when there are a number of links and the length of the text gets too long.

We aren’t at all sure what we can do about this.

Studio projects Monday October 13 2014 02:36 pm

Visit by Jim Moran of the Hamilton Type Museum to Lead Graffiti

In the photo: Ray Nichols (left) with Jim Moran looking over the 2014 Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 19 poster.

Jim Moran, director of the Hamilton Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, spent a nice couple of hours with Lead Graffiti Monday, October 13, 2014. Jim had spoken to AIGA / Philadelphia over the weekend and was coming to Newark, Delaware, to speak to a Visual Communications class of Ashley Pigford’s. Ashley, who shares a studio space next to Lead Graffiti, asked if we would like to get some time with  Jim before his UD talk and we jumped at the opportunity.

We drove the hour up to Philadelphia to pick Jim and his wife, Nance, and drove them the hour back to Newark. The drive back offered an opportunity to talk about Lead Graffiti and to give him some background information that would help us jump into the important projects we wanted to show once we arrived.

Overall, quite a nice day. And for anyone interested in letterpress a pilgrimage to Two Rivers, Wisconsin, is a rite of passage.

Jill and Ray had visited the Hamilton Type Museum back in 2006 when it was at its old location. Recently relocating to 1816 10th Street, Two Rivers, Wisconsin, they have a new view overlooking Lake Michigan.

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 Wednesday September 17 2014 11:30 am

Delaware College of Art & Design / September 27, 2014

We’ve been basing our Creative Letterpress workshops on a line starting with “Once upon a time…” which the students finish. Some instructors provide a theme, but generally most go with “Once…”. We’ve decided to change the line each year and the Delaware College of Art & Design is the first where the line will start with “All I know is….”

Our plan is to provide an image of the lockup and broadside image of each of these workshops. Hopefully, students will take the opportunity to look at a few of these and get themselves better prepared for the workshops before they come.

Anyway, this is DCAD’s first shot at the new text.

DCAD Lead Graffiti letterpress workshop

Above you can see the lockup for the 2nd color on the left and the final, 2-color broadside on the right. You can click on the image and see it double sized.

On the broadside on the right the 1st and 3rd rows have been rotated to orient all of the pages the same.

You can click here for a general idea of the final form of the books.

We expect to evaluate the results of each workshop which might help us do the workshop better each time, maybe give the students who did the workshop some food for thought, and to help future participants.

We are often surprised that students can actually find some things in our studio. We have about 600 cases of metal type, wood type (both in fonts and as orphans), dingbats, borders, and brackets. Some fonts have only the basic letters, numbers and punctuation. A few have parentheses. Fewer will have an asterisk.

Note that W in the upper right with that single long “serif” sticking out of the bottom. There are actually a number of typefaces that utilize this, but this is about the only one we have with it.

Another thing which we always love is the mixture of typerfaces that students will often put together. Most of the time the general rule in design classes is a maximum of 3 typefaces per page. Often students in this workshop will use more typefaces than that in a single word.

We want to write an entry for our blog about favorite typefaces. I’m sure it has happened because of letterpress, but having the notion of the perfect typeface for the perfect job doesn’t work very well for us as well any more, especially if there is a theme or concept associated with the piece. If we were just going to typeset a novel with pages of simple text we would be more apt to pick a typeface that had specific qualities, but when doing work where we have control the value of one typeface over another seems to follow a different set of rules.

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

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