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Monthly ArchiveJune 2015

Studio projects & Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 Tuesday June 30 2015 09:59 am

Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 stage schedule

All dates are now spoken for. If you are interested in being put on a waiting list, send Ray an email.

Stage 1, Saturday, July 4th - Utrecht > Utrecht | 14 km (individual time trial)
. . . collaborator: Rebecca Johnson Melvin | manuscript librarian | ‘11, ‘12, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14

Stage 2, Sunday, July 5th - Utrecht > Zélande | 166 km
. . . collaborator: Kati Sowiak | graphic designer
. . . collaborator: Laura Jacoby | graphic designer

Stage 3, Monday, July 6th - Anvers > Huy | 154 km (4, 4, 4, 3)
. . . collaborator: Steve Harding | woodworker & cyclist

Stage 4, Tuesday, July 7th - Seraing > Cambrai | 221 km (cobblestones, 4)
. . . collaborator: Mark Deshon | graphic designer | ‘13, ‘14

Stage 5, Wednesday, July 8th - Arras > Amiens Métropole | 189 km

. . . collaborator: Don Starr / designer, educator, store owner | ‘14
. . . collaborator: Mel Parada | graduate student, designer

Stage 6, Thursday, July 9th - Abbeville > Le Havre | 191 km (4, 4, 4)
. . . collaborator: Lauren Emeritz | letterpress printer, designer | ‘14

Stage 7, Friday, July 10th - Livarot > Fougères | 190 km (4)
. . . collaborator: Robert Ivone | teacher
. . . collaborator: Melissa Ivone | designer

Stage 8, Saturday, July 11th - Rennes > Mûr de Bretagne | 179 km (4, 3)
. . . collaborator: Bonnie Feliciano
. . . collaborator: Meryl Arnold | Graphic designer, letterpres printer
. . . collaborator: Tim (the boyfriend)

Stage 9, Sunday, July 12th - Vannes > Plumelec | 28 km (team time trial)
. . . A kind of weird day to watch. Each team rides as one.
. . . collaborator: Carol Mauer | ‘12
. . . collaborator: Kelly Mauer

Rest day #1, Monday, July 13th - Pau
. . . collaborator: Diane Zatz | educator | ‘11, ‘12, ‘14
. . . collaborator: Belinda Haites | graphic designer | ‘14

Stage 10, Tuesday, July 14th - Tarbes > La Pierre-Saint-Martin / 167 km (4, 4, 4, HC) | mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Bill Roberts | letterpress printer | ‘11, ‘11, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14

Stage 11, Wednesday, July 15th - Pau > Cauterets - Vallée de Saint-Savin | 188 km (3, 4, 3, 1 HC, 3) | mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Jessica Koman | graphic designer | ‘13, ‘14

Stage 12, Thursday, July 16th - Lannemezan > Plateau de Beille | 195 km (2, 1, 1, HC) | mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Nick Prestileo | graphic designer
. . . collaborator: Ed McCann | user experience designer
. . . collaborator: Steve DeCusatis | graphic designer

Stage 13,  Friday, July 17th - Muret > Rodez | 200 km (3, 4, 4)
. . . collaborator: Glenn Stevens | art director

Stage 14, Saturday, July 18th - Rodez > Mende | 178 km (4, 2, 4, 2)
. . . collaborator: Joel Ouellette | graphic designer | ‘14

Stage 15, Sunday, July 19th - Mende > Valence | 182 km (3, 4, 4, 2)
. . . collaborator: Rachel Strickland | cyclist | ‘14

Stage 16, Monday, July 20th - Bourg-de-Péage > Gap | 201 km  (2, 2)
. . . collaborator: Aaron Capp
| display designer

Rest day #2, Tuesday, July 21st - Gap

. . . collaborators: Lindsay Schmittle | letterpress printer | ‘12, ‘13, ‘14
. . . collaborator: Rachel Davis | U of DE design student

Stage 17, Wednesday, July 22nd - Digne-les-Bains > Pra-Loup / 161 km (3, 3, 2, 1, 2)|  mountain top finish

Stage 18, Thursday, July 23rd - Gap > Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / 185 km (2, 3, 3, 3, 2, HC, 2) | mountains
. . . collaborator: David Copestakes | Professor of Graphic Design | Arcadia University
. . . collaborator: Tiffany Zysk | graphic designer

Stage 19, Friday, July 24th - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > La Toussuire - Les Sybelles | 138 km (1, HC, 2, 1) / mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Kieran Francke | letterpress kid | ‘11, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14
. . . collaborator: Hendrik-Jan Francke | dad of letterpress kid & web designer | ‘13, ‘14

Stage 20, Saturday, July 25th - Modane Valfréjus > Alpe-d’Huez / 110 km (1, HC, HC)|  mountain top finish

Stage 21, Sunday, July 26th - Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest > Paris Champs-Élysées | 107 km
. . . collaborator: Ann Lemon | art director, designer | ‘13, ‘14

Studio projects & Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 Monday June 29 2015 08:51 am

Tour de Lead Graffiti woodtype for 2015

When we started our Tour de Lead Graffiti project in 2011 there was the built elements of spontaneity and experimentation. Originally we only planned for the one year which was 23 posters. We wanted to be able to do the daily posters to have both a continuity, but no design grid and definitely try, as best as possible, to avoid duplicating visual elements. Now we find ourselves editions later, 92 posters in our portfolio, and still looking for ways to make each poster at least fairly different from every other poster. Strangely, that hasn’t been as much of a problem as we thought it would have been.

One of the project strategies was to produce our own woodtype which would be the dominant typographic elements of each poster. The first year we cut Clarendon Extra Bold Condensed in a solid and an outline version. Each year after that we’ve chosen two typefaces, one fairly wide and the other condensed, to create visual texture and also to allow us to deal with some very long names. What to start just seemed more like an idea to have some fun has turned out to be quite a nice design element. For some reason which I’m not able to explain, letterpress seems to allow a flexibility in jumping between typefaces much more than the computer does. Many old broadsides printed letterpress in the late 1800s and early 1900s often used typefaces because they text would “fit”.

These are the two typefaces we are using for 2015.

Velo, designed by House Industries who are good friends of Lead Graffiti and also work nearby, is a typeface that reflects the cycling community. Rubens is a typeface from the late 1800s with some of the letters having that spur on their bottoms.

When we pick the typefaces for one of the editions, we don’t worry about their ability to interact well with each other. We like that we have to figure out how to get them to work together once we are actually designing the poster. The fact that we work on these posters very spontaneously makes it all the more fun.

Studio projects Saturday June 27 2015 06:54 am

Tour de France 2015 operational details

Information taken from Velo News.

As Utrecht, Netherlands gears up for the Tour de France’s Grand Départ on July 4, here are some facts and figures about the Grande Boucle, provided by race organizer Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO).

4,500 people in total travel with the race every day, including organizers, teams, media, partners, the advertising caravan, and service providers.


198 riders at the start (22 teams of nine riders)
300 support staff
15 members of the race jury

2015 route

3,360km (21 stages)
Three countries visited (The Netherlands, Belgium, and France)
26 French departments visited
37 stage sites
624 municipalities crossed (568 in France, 17 in The Netherlands, 39 in Belgium)


100 ASO staff
300 temporary staff
1,550 beds reserved every day for the organization and the sports teams

Medical services

10 doctors (all specialties), five nurses
Seven ambulances, two medical cars, one motorcycle, one radiology truck


48 members of the Republican Guard motorcycle division
13 officers on duty as the permanent police of the Tour
14,000 gendarmes/9,000 police officers and CRS riot police mobilized
1,000 agents from the General Councils

Accredited media (2014 edition)

2,000 journalists, consultants, and photographers
637 media organizations
373 newspapers, press agencies, and Internet sites
92 television networks
114 photo agencies
58 radio stations

Broadcast and media

Broadcast in 190 countries
100 channels, including 60 live
Eight stages broadcast in full
80 hours of live broadcast produced (international signal)
6,100 hours aired worldwide in 2014
32 million unique visitors/146 million pages viewed on in 2014
Four languages: French, English, Spanish, German
1,700,000 fans on Facebook
1,300,000 followers on Twitter
500,000 on Google +
100,000 on Instagram
1.1 million downloads of applications dedicated to the Tour de France

Advertising caravan

154 vehicles
34 brands
600 people
14 million objects handed out
12km of procession
35 minutes of show
55 people to supervise the caravan, including 13 officers of the Republican Guard motorcycle division

Spectators on the side of the road (2014 edition)

64 percent men and 36 percent of women
54 percent under the age of 50, with 10 percent under the age of 25
80 percent French spectators and 20 percent from abroad
More than 40 nationalities identified
92 percent come accompanied (on average five people per group)

Studio projects Saturday June 13 2015 12:14 pm

Well, that only took 8 years…

Back in August of 2007 we took possession of an R. Hoe & Co. Washington #5 iron handpress. In the photo below it is the one on the far side with our Albion, which we bought a year later, on the near side. We got a demonstration from bookmaker Don Rash on how to apply the tympan paper to the tympans. They weren’t perfect, but they were close enough for a couple of first-timers.

Here is the description from Scott’s email when describing his Washington #5, August 1, 2007.

“The Washington is in good shape, no broken parts or repairs that I can see. There is a bit of surface rust, no big deal.  It could also use a good bath! The bed has been completely cleaned and is in very nice shape, the platen still has some surface rust but appears to be fine as well. There’s no tympan and frisket assembly but you can have one made or make one yourself if you’re handy.  I have a smaller Washington that has the Tympan/frisket so I could take some detailed photos.  Just a bit of metal work and some wood work. There also used to be a guy in Utah that made them and he also did castings for missing parts as well. Don’t know if he’s still around.

The only thing missing on the press is one corner iron. The press can certainly be used without it but if you wanted to have one made, I know it can be done. I can give you some leads.

I would also include a chase (very large) with the press. I had a hell of a time finding a chase this big.”

With the help of new Lead Graffiti friend, woodworker and patron, Steve Harding, we’ve finally gotten tympan/friskets on both of our iron handpresses finished. We also found a guy in Lancaster, PA, who restores cannons to make us that corner iron that Scott mentioned was missing.

A few details about our iron handpresses:

R. Hoe & Co. Washington #5 - platen size is 25″ x 38″ (c. 1869)

Harrild & Sons Ltd.  Albion - platen is 21″ x 29″ (c. 1890)

Now to generate interest in a workshop so I can bring someone in here to teach us how to use them. Maybe we can print one of our rest day posters for this year’s Tour de Lead Graffiti on one of these presses. Hmmm.

Can’t wait.

Studio projects Saturday June 06 2015 06:36 pm

Opening at AIGA / Philadelphia’s SPACE Gallery

We are exhibiting 32 of our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters at the AIGA / Philadelphia’s SPACE Gallery during June 2015. The posters were selected from the 92 we’ve produced with handset wood & metal type via letterpress over the past 4 summers, each producing 23 posters in 23 days, forming a visual daily journal of the stage events of the Tour de France. You can read more about the project and see the posters by clicking here.

We will be doing a gallery talk on Saturday, June 20 at 3pm for anyone that would like to hear our story and see the exhibition. The SPACE Gallery is at 72 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia.

The image below shows Tray setting the lights with Jill and Belinda Haikes (left, co-chair of AIGA’s Gallery Committee) the previous Tuesday when we were setting up the show. We really appreciate the generosity of AIGA / Philadelphia for offering us this chance to show a 4-year project that we love. We are giving the AIGA / SPACE Gallery 20% of the proceeds from any posters we sell from our website during the exhibition which runs through June 27. Start thinking about a good gift for a friend and help out the gallery at the same time. Here is the link to our online store which gives you access to all of the posters in the navigation at the top.

Over the evening we had what felt like 250 - 300 at the First Friday opening on June 5th, with lots of people willing to listen to our story and offering up lots of interesting questions about the letterpress process and the Tour. Here are a few photos showing the gathering.

We talked with a number of people whom we invited to join us during the upcoming Tour. Maybe they were cyclists, loved the idea of the spontaneity, or had a taste of letterpress sometime in their life.  It was easy to encourage several to come do one of the posters with us this summer.

One of the things that is great about our Tour de Lead Graffiti project is sharing the creative experience with collaborators. Of the 32 posters in the show the following people shared in one or more of them.

Amos Burkhart, APHA members group, Brian Campbell, Adam DelMarcelle, Mark Deshon, Lauren Emeritz, Christine Fajardo, Hendrik-Jan Francke (2), Kieran Francke (3), Donna Globus, Virginia Green, Belinda Haikes, David Jones, Andy Kiel, Ben Kiel (2), Jessica Koman, Ann Lemon, Ethan Mann, Rebecca Johnson Melvin (3), Lucie Melvin, Joel Ouellette, Tim Pacific, Bill Roberts (2), Kayla Romberger, Lindsay Schmittle, Rachel Strickland, Paul Thompson, Garrett Varady, Jeannie Marcotte Wagner, Kyle Ward, Stephanie Wolfe, Diane Zatz (2), and Megan Zottlemeyer.

This photo is a rare “double wink selfie” with Ray & Kieran, a 4-year contributor (starting at age 10) to Tour de Lead Graffiti at the opening, using one of Kieran’s posters as a backdrop.

When we look back over the people represented in the posters (the list above), many of them weren’t people we even knew at the time, but somehow just connected with us. They must have had a good story or looked like interesting people to spend the day with, so we invited them.

At the opening one couple (great hair color always helps), after the conversation exposed the fact they had plans to go to France and actually stand on one of the mountain stages, got such an offer to join us for a day. By the end of the evening they had accepted the offer, checked availability, and had emailed the stage date to us (Stage 7) by the end of the evening. We love that kind of enthusiasm. You can see our schedule for 2015 here.

Another great story was a young lady, when I started explaining our project, grabbed her phone and in about 10 seconds was showing us a photo of the peloton blasting along at full speed on the Champs-Élysées this past summer while she was on a study abroad. We love those kinds of stories.

. . .

The British Library hosted an exhibition of 30 of the TdLG posters from 2011 - 2013 this past summer in London and Sports Illustrated did a small, but nice, article on our 2013 edition in their “Year in Media” edition in December of 2013 in both their print and digital issues.

In July and August of 2015 these same posters, with an additional 12 or 15, will be on exhibit at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Hard to explain how flattered we are with this.