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Category Archivehonors, awards, media & news

honors, awards, media & news Thursday June 26 2014 11:07 pm

WHYY-TV show

You can watch the segment WHYY-TV produced on Lead Graffiti below. It was shown June 20, 2014.

Studio projects & honors, awards, media & news Friday June 20 2014 11:36 am

British Library exhibition poster listing

The British Library exhibition in London will show posters from the 2013 and 2012 editions of our Tour de Lead Graffiti project. They are including 9 of the stage posters plus the title page, descriptive page, and the composite print. The British Library, who were early purchasers of our 2011 edition are one of only a few that have all three composites as we did it more for a test the first year.

The Tour de France starts in England this year with the third stage ending in London.

It would be so much fun to be in London for both the Tour and the exhibition, but there is no way to do this year’s edition of the project and be here and there. We chose here.

Here are the posters from the 2013 edition. The 2013 Tour de France was won by British rider Chris Froome.

Here are the posters from the 2012 edition. The 2012 Tour de France was won by British rider Bradley Wiggins.

In addition The British Library has decided to put together an exhibition of the poster images in the new display area of their Boston Spa Reading Room in Yorkshire. This is quite close to where this year’s Tour de France will start.

Studio projects & honors, awards, media & news Wednesday June 18 2014 02:21 pm

BL, f1rst, TdLG + …


An exhibition of 20 posters from our 2012 and 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti editions opens at The British Library opens on July 3. The exhibition will run through November. The Tour de France this year has the first 2 stages in England. An interesting element to the exhibition is that Bill Deering has his Visual Communications study abroad group in England at the moment and they are going to see the exhibition on the 7th. So they will go to England and see an exhibition of a place they’ve visited here in Newark, Delaware.

We are offering a collaboration to work with us on one of the posters once they’ve returned to the U.S.  to the student that sends us the best ’selfie’ taken at the exhibition. That should be kind of fun.

. . . WHYY

WHYY, the PBS station here, has produced a 3-minute film on Lead Graffiti and it is being shown for the first time on Friday, June 20 at 5:30 pm and 11:00 pm. The show is called “f1rst”. It will also air over the weekend and then again on Monday the 23rd. After that it will be viewable online.

The film crew scheduled to come in for 3 hours ended up staying for more than 6. There is a lot of stuff to shoot in our studio and they seemed to want to shoot it all. It will be interesting to see how 6 hours compresses into 3 minutes.

. . . TOUR de LEAD GRAFFITI 2014

We are 18 days from the start of our 4th annual Tour de Lead Graffiti. We follow the Tour de France live on TV each morning and translate the day’s events into a poster printed via letterpress. We have collaborators scheduled for about half of the days. You can see our daily schedule by clicking here. The Tour runs through July 27. It is about a 15 hour day for 23 consecutive days. We call it “endurance letterpress.”

We just finished printing the signature blocks on approximately 1200 sheets of paper which will be used for the posters. As they do in the Tour de France the opening moment of each stage is the riders signing in to ride. We do the same thing as our first act once we get to the studio by signing the 45 sheets we start with for each poster.

The final outcome of our printing is a clamshell box holding the 23 posters, a title page, a descriptive page, a project colophon, and a composite print which has EVERY run for EVERY poster overprinted onto a single sheet. Collaborators each get two copies of the the poster from their day and we usually have an additional 10 or so that we sell and sometimes giveaway to deserving letterpress devotees.

We are starting production of this year’s wood type which will help provide continuity across so many posters. This year’s type is going to be Neuland and Jefferson Gothic. We always make two typefaces for each year. The type will be 2″ high. It will be interesting with the Neuland as it is a fairly wide typeface.


Middlebury, Vermont held its first annual Gran Fondo cycling event and helped promote the day with an month-long exhibition of our 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti posters. We designed an interesting hanging system for the exhibition which we plan on using for future exhibitions. More on that later.

Studio projects & honors, awards, media & news Wednesday March 05 2014 02:15 am

Lead Graffiti workshop books & the Library of Congress

Lead Graffiti has been working with the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress who asked to start a collection of Lead Graffiti creative work printed via letterpress. This will include books, posters, work designed by us for clients, and other ephemera.

The first major component of that collection is a complete set of our ‘meander’ books (shown below) we’ve produced during our Creative Letterpress workshops. We’ve been running these workshops since 2010 and are a regular part of many typography classes in area design schools.

In all there are 41 books from these workshops often with 10 - 14 participants. Each participant in those workshops can now include their creative letterpress work the Lead Graffiti Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress on their résumé. Collectively that is approximately 300 participants. We will constantly update the Library of Congress with new books.

In addition the Library of Congress has taken possession of our 2011 Tour de Lead Graffiti clamshell box edition and will be adding the 2012 and 2013 editions in the near future.

Special Collections at the University of Delaware also maintains the only other full set of workshop books along with a complete set of our Tour de Lead Graffiti clamshell box editions.

Studio projects & honors, awards, media & news Sunday February 02 2014 07:19 pm

SHARP review of “The Multifaceted Mr. Morris”

We designed & printed via letterpress a book entitled the The Multifaceted Mr. Morris (see our original blog announcement), a catalogue of the William Morris exhibition mounted in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection at the University of Delaware for the “Useful & Beautiful” conference held in October 2010. Highlighting more than 30 books, manuscripts, drawings, and other works the introduction tells the story of how the collector came to collect Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites. The book was recently reviewed by John Buchtel, Head of Special Collections at Georgetown University in the Winter 2014 issue of SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, reading & Publishing) News.

Our online portfolio entry | online store entry

It is wonderful when someone actually grasps and has the ability to articulate your creative intent that actually matches your intent. Below are a few quotes from the review focused on Lead Graffiti’s contribution to the book.

The colophon to this elegantly designed exhibition catalog declares it to have been  “printed slowly & patiently,” Lead Graffiti’s flawless letterpress placing it squarely in the Arts and Crafts tradition tht its subject set in motion more than 100 years ago. The catalog achieves its ai of presenting a lively sense of the multiplicity of William Morris’s interests and efforts, and of his contributions in each of those realms, from his early fasination with Icelandic saga to his Socialists activism to his engagement in the details of textile production and book design.

. . .

The catalog’s charming “visual nuggets” (as the printer’s promotional literature describes its graphic elements) taken from items in the Samuels Lasner collection include a detail from Burne-Jones’s delightful caricature of William Morris takimg a constitutional. This alone is worth the price of admission for fans of either figure.

. . .

The only complaints one might be tempted to raise have to do with the catalog’s crisp inkjet plates. Their number is limited to eight, and while this is understandable given the added cost of full color, it is too bad that they depict neither the catalog’s additional items nor the wood engraving by Edmund News of the library at Kelmscott House. Moreover, the photographs present the objects in their entirety, from above and at an angle. This design decision produces an illusion of three-dimensionality that serves as a good reminder that the catalog stands in for an exhibition; nonetheless, one may not be able to help wishing for a little more
close-up detail of Burne-Jones’s caricatures or Morris’s calligraphy.

. . .

For those on the other hand who fall in love wth the notion of the hand-crafter book, the catalog embodies what it describes, providing a beautiful and actually affordable (albeit not inconsiderably priced) entré into the world of letterpress printing, replete with the tactile pleasure of a pronounced “bite.” Like the books produced by its namesake, the catalog is quietly evangelistic: may it succeed in winning converts to the collecting and patronage, and perhaps even to the practice, of fine press printing.

Studio projects & honors, awards, media & news Friday December 13 2013 01:45 pm

Sports Illustrated - December 16, 2013

If you want to see the complete edition of our 2013 Tour de Lead Graffiti project of 23 posters printed via letterpress on our website, click here. From there, click on the poster image to advance to the next day’s poster. Each stage has a thorough story about the day and how they helped impact the poster along with photos of the studio and lockups. From any of those pages you can also view the 2011 and 2012 editions.

. . .

Now, a gran fondo starts this story in motion, so let’s define that first. It is the Italian term used in the U.S. and some other English-speaking countries for an organized, short-to-long distance, mass-participation, cycling event, typically held annually.

Alexander Wolff, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, is working on starting a gran fondo in Middlebury, Vermont, this coming summer. One element of the event is an exhibition related to cycling. His sister, a book artist, said he should look at Lead Graffiti. She had seen our Tour de Lead Graffiti project on the Book Arts listserv.

He does and then asks, “How about an exhibition?”

As it turns out, the June weekend they want to do the gran fondo is an active wedding weekend and all of the local hotels are booked. So, we get an email saying the exhibition is off. Bummer. (As it turns out it may be back on, just on a different weekend. We’ll keep you posted.)

About 4 days later we get an email from Sports Illustrated (we are talking about the magazine with a 3,150,000 subscriber base). They want to do a small article in their print and iPad editions on Tour de Lead Graffiti for their “Year in Media” issue and ask if we can send some images. Oh, baby! It was so exciting to have a personal project produced in a centuries old process get noticed by a major national magazine.

We fire off a half dozen high-resolution images of our favorite broadsides from 2013 and then start checking out all of the local newsstands.

The suspense was killing us. Which image(s) would they use? How large? Who will write it? What would they say? Would people understand it? Where would it be in the issue? Honestly, would it even happen?

Now jump to yesterday.

We were holding off announcing the article until we’d seen it firsthand. We broke down and posted an announcement on Lead Graffiti’s Facebook page. Later in the day we get a call from Mark Deshon, a designer and former student of Ray’s, who lives just down the street from us and was a collaborator on Stage 5. He had gotten his daily mail, including his subscription to SI. He opened the mail, dealt with bills, and sat back to peruse SI. He says he has a ritual way of looking through the magazine—always front to back, sitting calmly and comfortably with minimum distractions. Just for the record, he hadn’t yet seen our Facebook post.

Page 25. Out of absolutely nowhere, there is the Stage 5 broadside. We cannot even imagine the neuron burst that would be happening in his brain, seeing the oh-so familiar image and it being so far out of its normal, everyday context.

Below is the December 16 article from Sports Illustrated highlighting Stage 5, written by none other than Alexander Wolff himself. The broadside, focused on a the 24th Tour stage win by Mark Cavendish (a Lead Graffiti favorite) was designed and printed by guest collaborator Mark Deshon, working with Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher, and Tray Nichols, at Lead Graffiti.

honors, awards, media & news & workshops Tuesday June 05 2012 10:53 am

Workshop books donated to UD Special Collections

Lead Graffiti is pleased to announce that we’ve collected copies of all 24 caterpillar books created to date in our ‘creative letterpress’ workshop and donated them to Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library. As of June 1, 2012, we have had 229 people take this particular workshop, all of whom can now list inclusion in Special Collections on their résumés. The image below shows Ray and Jill with Tim Murray, head of Special Collections, with the books arrayed on the table.

Read on for more details about our creative letterpress workshops and how these books were made.

Special Collections / University of Delaware Library


PPSP workshop bookletThis particular creative letterpress workshop centers around a group of 6 to 14 participants who gather around a theme. Theme topics have included Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, phobias, Valentine’s Day, quotes from Ben Franklin, and favorite lyrics from the Beatles. Past groups have included students from area design programs at schools such as Philadelphia University, Cabrini College, Art Institute of Philadelphia, Delaware College of Art and Design; and professionals from publication departments, designers organizations and societies, and university faculty members.


Philadelphia University lockupThe workshop encompasses a day-long group effort involving the creative handsetting of wood and metal type, printing book covers and a broadside/text block, and combining all the pieces together in a finished hardcover caterpillar book to take home. Having agreed on a theme, individual pages are divided among the attendees to be handset from our sizeable Lead Graffiti collection. Assembled and locked up in the press (see the lockup to the right), the pages are printed all at one time as a 16″ x 20″ broadside using our Vandercook Universal III. Each attendee prints the sheets that will make up their books. Through careful folding and tearing, the broadside is assembled into an accordion-fold format to serve as the book’s text block. The cover design is printed by each person on Lead Graffiti paste papers using our Vandercook SP-15 and then the entire book is bound without gluing or sewing. Each book also includes a colophon created on our Intertype C4 linecaster, which is typeset by and lists all participants.

Each person receives the materials to produce three books; one book is completed by the end of the workshop and the attendee takes enough materials home to produce two additional copies on their own for gifts or trading. We like this process because we think taking those pieces home, reliving the day and producing the other two books away from the workshop helps reinforce the process in their memory. We’ve often been told by faculty at area design schools that the book format starts to show up in other student projects, which we find to be an encouraging sign in this push-button computer age.


We already have workshops lined up for the fall 2012 semester. The results from future workshops focused on this book form will continue to be added to Special Collections. If you are a past Lead Graffiti ‘creative workshop’ attendee, be sure to visit the University of Delaware’s Special Collections to see your contribution and also consider listing it in your résumé.

honors, awards, media & news Sunday August 31 2008 06:00 am

Art Directors Club of NY honors Ray

If anyone went to the celebration and has photos, PLEASE email them to Ray. Our camera broke and we only got two photos at the event. This was one of them.

Robyn Stern (’94), Ray Nichols, and Dave Laden (’95).
I thought the T-shirt made a nice statement about the evening.

. . .

On October 5, 2008 I had the honor of being awarded the title of Grandmaster by The Art Directors Club of New York. The ADC initiated the award to highlight people in the design education field. The ADCNY describes the ADC Grandmasters as educators whose teaching careers and mentoring have impacted generations of students and whose legacy is a far-reaching network of industry leaders and professionals in advertising and design.

The five honorees for this first exhibition include me, Ray Nichols (University of Delaware), Sheila Levrant de Bretteville (Yale), Carin Goldberg (School of Visual Arts), Mark Fenske (Virginia Commonwealth University / Brandcenter), and Jeffrey Metzner (School of Visual Arts). The award is a great honor in itself and also to be included with these important teachers from such important schools.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity of working with a lot of great colleagues and students who worked hard, stood up well under the assault of critiques and all-nighters, and opened their minds to creative possibilities. While I had a great time in VC I envied every student when they graduated. I’ve often wished I could change places.

Maybe as many as 100 graduates attended the celebration or joined us afterwards at the Black Door. It was great to see both graphic design and advertising design graduates there, as I had only chosen from my advertising design graduates to be in the show, along with a sizable number of younger graduates. It was an astounding feeling seeing graduates spread over 25 years meeting each other, many for the first time. Two of the graduates, Ellen Steinberg (’90) and Nancy Miller Vonk (’79) said they had been emailing each other for two years and only were aware that they had me in common when I sent a note listing who was included in the exhibition. Graduates came from a lot of places, including San Francisco (2), Boulder, CO (2), Chicago, and Toronto.

Here is the other photos we got before our camera decided it didn’t want to work. Hmmm. A Nikon, also.

Eric Collins (’08), Joey Ellis (’08), and Ray.

The following creative directors, art directors, copywriters, and photographers were chosen to represent that “far reaching network.”

Nancy Miller Vonk / 1979 / Ogilvy / Toronto, Canada
Brad Tillinghast / 1980 / Produce Marketing Association / Newark, DE
Bill Oberlander / 1981 / McCann-Erickson / New York, NY
Mylene Turek Pollock / 1983 / Leo Burnett / Chicago, IL
Craig Cutler / 1983 / Craig Cutler Photography / New York, NY
Ann Lemon / 1984 / Freelance / New York, NY
Joe Johnson / 1985 / Ogilvy / New York, NY
Kirk Souder / 1985 / GMMB / Washington, DC
Kevin Moehlenkamp / 1986 / Hill Holiday / Boston, MA
Sean McCormick / 1986 / Caspari McCormick / Wilmington, DE
Rick Midler / 1988 / formerly of BBDO / New York, NY
Ellen Steinberg / 1990 / McKinney / Durham, NC
Franklin Tipton / 1991 / Goodby, Silverstein & Partners / San Francisco, CA
Libby Brockhoff / 1992 / Founding partner of Mother / London, UK
D.J. Pierce / 1993 / Crispin Porter + Bogusky / Boulder, CO
Marc Sobier / 1993 / Goodby, Silverstein & Partners / San Francisco, CA
Dave Laden / 1995 / Dave Laden Films / Ubër Content / San Francisco, CA
Tesia Farquhar Barone / 1997 / Philadelphia, PA
Bill Starkey / 1997 / STICK and MOVE, Philadelphia, PA
James Helms / 1997 / Slingshot / Dallas, TX
Brandon Henderson / 1999 / Y&R / New York, NY
Karl Lieberman / 1999 / Wieden + Kennedy / Portland, OR
Kat Morris / 2001 / Crispin Porter + Bogusky / Boulder, CO
Marco Kaye / 2002 / Wieden + Kennedy / Portland, OR
Amy Servidea / 2002 / BBH / New York, NY

A few more photos from the evening (hopefully, more to follow).

Bill Oberlander (’81), former president of the Art Directors Club of New York opening the event.

The certificates designed by Lizzy Ferraro (’05) ready to be served.

Left to right: Carin Goldberg, Sheila Metzner, a Metzner family member, Mark Fenske, and me. Sheila Levrant de Bretteville had to leave early and wasn’t there for the photo.

There were a couple of an added bonuses. The concept for the image, poster and certificates for the Grandmasters exhibition was designed by Lizzy Ferraro (’05) and it is wonderful to see what I believe is the impact from the program (and Hendrik-Jan Francke) in the visual concept. The photo was done at the studio of Craig Cutler (’83). Rick Boyko, director of VCU / Brand Center), who was supposed to introduce me couldn’t come, so they switched it to Nancy Miller Vonk (’79) who had some wonderful things to say and that made it so much more wonderful and personal.

Jill’s and my letterpress shop, Lead Graffiti, was asked to print the certificates which added another very nice, personal touch to the whole event.

It is worth mentioning the importance of a few colleagues in our program that contributed in very important ways to my own successes, both inside and outside of class, including Bill Deering, Martha Carothers, and Hendrik-Jan Francke.

And then there is Jill Cypher. Anyone who knows me knows how important she is to me.

And a photo of the three most important people in my life headed to the celebration from Brooklyn.

Studio projects & honors, awards, media & news Friday November 16 2007 11:28 pm

Steven Heller’s New Vintage Type

Steven Heller and Gail Anderson have come out with a new book entitled New Vintage Type. Five letterpress pieces produced by Ray and Jill, except as noted, through Raven Press at the University of Delaware were included. There may have been students involved I cannot remember at this point. If you read this and were involved drop me an email and I’ll correct the credits below.

From the top left clockwise:

1) The cover of New Vintage Type by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson.

2) Program for the International Association for Robin Hood Studies
held at the University of Delaware, produced by Ray Nichols & Jill Cypher, 14″ x 22″, 40 copies, 2005.

Book caption: MORRIS AND HIS CIRCLE—Raymond Nichols reports that William Morris and the Kelmscott Press were the prime influences here, particularly in the illuminated initials. The main typeface, Troy, named after The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye, was designed by Morris in the Arts and Crafts aesthetic of the mid-nineteenth century.

3) Poster for Black Maria Film & Video Festival
held at the University of Delaware, produced by Ray Nichols & Jill Cypher, 14″ x 22″, 40 copies, 2005.

Book caption: THAT HANDMADE LOOK—Black Maria Film & Video Festival is a film festival where many of the films being shown have a handmade look. “We thought letterpress would best represent that,” explains Raymond Nichols. The distressed slap serif type evokes the ad hoc sensibility, while setting it against the white background keeps it from being too musty.

4) Poster for Steven Heller lecture
(book’s author) for a talk he gave to Visual Communications at the University of Delaware, produced by Ray Nichols & Jill Cypher, 19.5″ x 30.5″, 25 copies 2005

Book caption: SCALE IS EVERYTHING—Raymond Nichols and Jill Cypher credit Hatch Show Print posters for inspiration. “We wanted the poster to look human because I think Steven {Helleer” comes off like that.” (Little did they know.”

5) Poster for Battle of the Bands for South Africa Aids Awareness Week
produced by Sarah Rosenthal, Courtney Bowditch, and Ray Nichols, 24″ x 18″, 40 copies, 2005.

Book caption: THE GOLD STANDARD—The Hatch Show Print posters are the gold standard of vernacular concert and fai bills. This poster may have been influenced by Hatch, but the University of Delaware print shop has developed its own hybrid of vintage and contemporary style.

6) Poster for Art Happens 2
an exhibition of graduate students in the Department of Fine Arts & Visual Communications, produced by Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher, David Huynh and Louis Flanigan, 22″ x 14″, 40 copies, 2004

Book caption: LOTS OF WOOD—Actual vintage woodtypes are at the core of Raven Press’s design activity. If an entire alphabet is not available in the same point size, then they mix and match to get an aesthetically pleasing result. This is one of the main small jobs the Press handles for the University of Delaware. While it uses types of the past the design is of the present.

APA & Histories of Newark: 1758-2008 & Studio & Studio projects & Visual Communications / UD & events & film & honors, awards, media & news & important equipment & inventory / collection & inventory / important type & inventory / miscellaneous & inventory / presses & personal & photo projects / hand-drawn type & printing tricks / advice / help & trips & type & Lettering & uncategorized & workshops Tuesday November 30 1999 12:00 am

Craig Cutler at Lead Graffiti

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Craig Cutler, noted New York photographer, is near completion of a year-long series of weekly personal projects entitled CC52. The 49th in the series are photographs taken at Lead Graffiti.

Click on Craig’s image of some of our 96 point foundry metal Caslon below and take a look.