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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.

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

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.

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