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Monthly ArchiveNovember 2014

Studio projects Friday November 07 2014 11:08 am

Trade you! Your personal time for our press time.

There is always a lot of work to do around Lead Graffiti that, while necessary or at least useful in helping us be more efficient or presentable, isn’t a very productive use of our time. If you’ll help us do those tasks we’ll trade you for press time for your letterpress projects or workshops we offer.

NOTE: Use of our equipment requires the completion of a technical workshop using that equipment. You’ll have to pay for that workshop in cash or traded time.

Our Creative Letterpress workshops are not accepted as the prerequisite for renting.

. . .

After you’ve taken the technical workshop and are trained to use and maintain the equipment in a professional manner you can use our equipment based on our ability to be in the studio with you.

Our tabletop presses rent for $10 an hour. Maximum printing area of 6″ x 8″.

Our Vandercook SP15 rents for $25 an hour. It is handcranked with maximum printing area of 14″ x 18″.

Our Vandercook Universal III rents for $35 an hour. It is automatic with maximum printing area of 18″ x 24″.

. . .

So, give us 1 hour of your time to help with our work and we will give you

1.25 hours of tabletop press time (works out to $12.50 an hour) or

30 minutes of Vandercook SP15 time ($12.50 an hour) or

20 minutes of Vandercook Universal III time ($11.67 an hour)

. . .

Additionally, you can give us 10 hours and we’ll give you the Vandercook Technical workshop ($12.00 an hour) after which you can do the rental thing with our Vandercooks.

. . .

You have to provide your own paper and photopolymer plates. We might have enough paper we buy in bulk in our inventory to offer at least some of our papers with a markup of 50% over our costs. You must pay for paper with money, typically paid with a credit card through Square at the studio. Clearly you have to make sure we have the paper you need above any paper we need for our own projects. You may also buy paper online and have it shipped to Lead Graffiti. The shipping is often cheaper because we are in an industrial versus a residential area.

A few examples:

Somerset Textured White - I need to figure this out
Crane Lettra Fluorescent White - I need to figure this out
Mohawk Superfine White Eggshell 80# text - I need to figure this out
Mohawk Superfine White Smooth 120# cover - I need to figure this out
French Paper - I need to figure this out
Canson or … - I need to figure this out

We’ll provide ink, access to our type inventory, and makeready / cleaning materials. When using our metal and wood type you CANNOT do deep impression worky—you’ll need photopolymer plates for that.

. . .

Here are a few of tasks we need done on a fairly regular basis.

1 - redistribute type from our Creative Letterpress workshops (takes us about 6 - 8 hours).

2 - generally clean up; straighten paper & bookboard offcuts; sweep around the studio, Intertype, & lead saw; make spider webs disappear, sort leading & furniture, sort spacing material

3 - fold and bind Creative Letterpress workshop meander books

4 - help with binding books related to our projects

5 - sort printed samples, portfolio and TdLG cards into sleeves

6 - wrap things for mailings

7 - transfer metal type between galleys & job cases

8 - we might even consider help with our Creative Letterpress workshops

9 - help us track down our unknown wood & metal typefaces

We can also trade your time for our letterpress or bookmaking workshops.

. . .

A few additional thoughts or bridges we may have to cross:

1) It may be that if even a small number of students take us up on this there won’t be anything we need done

2) You have to do your part first and build up a savings account of time to trade.

3) We will have a fairly intolerant attitude toward anyone that violates our trust or our equipment or our type and that violation will surely end in stopping your relationship with Lead Graffiti.

. . .

We will be happy to offer an estimate of how long it should take you for your project so you can plan accordingly. If you need more time to finish a project you MAY have to pay for that time or work out a deal for trading additional time which must be done in a reasonable amount of time.

Use of our equipment can be for personal, classwork or commercial projects. We do not expect money or credit for any of your projects. You can even operate under a name of your choosing for your press. When you are using our equipment you can even bring a friend with you either as a helper (may help you get more done in less time) or to just introduce them to letterpress.

Interested? Drop Ray an email with an expression of interest or questions.

Studio projects Thursday November 06 2014 11:26 am

University of Delaware / Printmaking / October 30, 2014

This workshop had a much more complicated lockup for the 1st color so we want to show the results of both runs.

The image above shows the lockup for the 1st color, typically incorporating the initial capital letters.

Above you can see the lockup for the 2nd color on the left and the resulting final broadside on the right. You can click on either 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.


The wonderful part of this workshop was the complexity that started with the 1st color. But it is worth mentioning that starting with a complex 1st color has a number of drawbacks.

1) Immediately it multiplies the opportunities for mistakes with misregistering the various visual elements between the two runs. Most participants in these workshops are first-timers and the problems associated with working backwards is adds a degree of complexity to every moment. We try to keep the design pretty loose, we strongly discourage sketching, and a lot of the time you think you know what is going to happen and then it doesn’t.

2) These workshop run a bit clocklike in order to get this much work done in a one-day workshop. Normally we kind of throw the initial capital letters into the upper left. When you start adding a lot of other elements to it this part of the process simply takes more time and that can show up as a problem around 6:00 when people were expecting to leave for their Saturday night events.

3) With the added complexity comes the issue with trying to figure out how to make the visual elements in the 2nd color match what you want from the now-locked-on-paper 1st run. If things require minor adjustmets to positioning we can often help that out. The more of those the slower things get again. Also, most of these lockups aren’t done the easy way with type in a line. Participants are lockup up curves, diagonals, type baselines bouncing around, rotated letters that don’t fit like they were intended, etc. Honestly, we want this as part of a creative experience. Once we’ve printed that 1st color we are stuck with it. We might be able to adjust a bit, but any major mistake just becomes part of the student’s experience. It is worth saying that a number of times the mistake is far more interesting than what was intended.


The third one in the top row is a nice violation of one of our suggested rules to stick to 50 characters or less. The resulting page is quite different from any of the other 500 or so pages participants have made in this workshop over the past 4 or 5 years.  It is worth mentioning that she was the last one finished with hers. Redistributing it was pretty easy the next day.

The 4th one in the 2nd row as an interesting copywriting element to it and the use of the handy box dingbats worked quite nicely with the look of the page.

The 4th one in the 3rd row has come nice complexity with the bouncing type and that nice curve. FYI the misspelling is deliberate as in the one to the left of it.

Studio projects Wednesday November 05 2014 10:58 am

Philadelphia University / October 25, 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 some interesting nuggets in them. These aren’t necessarily our favorites, but that help focus attention on some things about design, typography, and letterpress that we especially like.

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.


The fourth page in the third row has a wonderful, but organized, clutter to it. The use of the ‘moustaches’ at the top and left in the first color coupled with the heavy right side help contain the image in the page which doesn’t do much in the way of following normal reading order. Just in case you can’t follow it it reads “All I know is that ink runs deep.”


In the first one on the second row the 90° rotation of the two Ls in the word follow make them into footprint-like forms. I especially like them with the spaced out letters of the word.

The 4th page in the 2nd row uses an arrow as an E which at the same time suggests the letterform as well as contributing to illustrate the word. I’m not sure about the spelling of fast, but what might be a typo works quite nicely with the rotated T acting as another kind of arrow. I also like the lowercase I coupled with TIME MOVES in all uppercase creating a nice visual tension.

In the 2nd page on the 3rd row the word everything set in 10 different typefaces illustrates the word quite imaginatively. Turning it sideways helps keep its complexity from becoming visually overwhelming. It was an especially nice touch taking something that is so complicated and keeping the first E right-reading to help the reader start into the word.

Worth mentioning the title page at the top left which takes that word everyone (which is a big group) and uses dots between each letter to help bring back that the group is made up of individuals.