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Studio projects Saturday July 08 2017 01:14 pm

Stage 8 / “Out of Nowhere” / 2015

Love the color in this one. It was an incentive in doing our ”Alphabetachaos #1″ wood type specimen broadside.

Vuillermos tore out of the pack of riders in the peloton right at the end of the race.

We added a moment of humanity for this being our 100th poster in the TdLG series.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

In second place came this broadside on a stage that was completely in rain.

We set that nice curve for an umbrella with a slightly larger upside V for an A in rain. We repeated the same lockup in each color to get some extra impact without much work.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

. . .

The tally for the TdLG years so far.

2011 - 18 points
2012 - 3
2013 - 19
2014 - 6
2015 - 8

Studio projects Saturday July 08 2017 01:02 pm

Stage 7 ” I fell on my ‘S’ / 2011

We have a wonderful “S” in our orphan wood type. The most wonderful thing about it is that it is broken.

This stage’s crash gave us a perfect opportunity to use it.

Otherwise, the day had been completely boring. To highlight that boringness, we cast “Waiting for the sprint” 50 times or so and just repeated it down the page and then past the crash.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

This crash from stage 7 in 2012 was a nice crash-focused broadside that comes in second.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

And this broadside paying homage to Peter Sagan’s team who did a killer ride this stage in 2013.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

. . .

The tally for the TdLG years so far.

2011 - 18 points
2012 - 3
2013 - 19
2014 - 3
2015 - 5

Studio projects Saturday July 08 2017 12:53 pm

Stage 6 / “The Maneuver” / 2013

Some posters and this one is a big one, were built more around wanting to do some cool letterpress printing than the actual event that precipitated things.

Mark Cavendish (for whom we seem to tend to do wonderful posters) was caught up behind a crash which got him dropped behind the peloton. In order to catch up, he was doing some fairly spectacular riding, weaving in-and-out of support cars and jumping curbs to ride straight across roundabouts.

One of our all-time favorite posters and he didn’t even win the stage (came in 4th as you can see). We also loved the hand rolling on Greipel’s name. Greipel was the German champion and had the German color strips around his jersey.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

A really nice lockup production shot 4th at the bottom if you are into odd lockups.

. . .

The tally for the TdLG years so far.

2011 - 13 points
2012 - 0
2013 - 18
2014 - 3
2015 - 5

Studio projects Wednesday July 05 2017 10:33 am

Favorites from 5th stages / “Sports Illustrated” / 2013

Cavendish crashed out of the Tour yesterday so this broadside is strangely ironic. Cavendish took out Peter Sagan also, trimming my enthusiasm by about 50%.

Stage 5 in 2013 was a rather uneventful stage, but working with former grad, Mark Deshon, this poster ended up with a crispness to the design that has been hard to match. Color and design both help a lot and a sense of white space really brings it home.

This poster will always carry a lot of weight in our memory of our work with the Tour by being used by Sports Illustrated in an article on our project. It was included in both their digital and print editions which support 3,125,000 subscribers.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

Stage 5 of 2011 brought us a close second as a favorite TdLG broadside, strangely a stage also won by Mark Cavendish.

It was an odd day of 10 crashes. While watching the Tour live on TV I said, “The gravity seems strange.” Jill did a nice job of organizing some polite ways to say “excuse me” while cycling at 25 miles an hour.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

. . .

The tally for the TdLG years so far.

2011 - 13 points
2012 - 0
2013 - 13
2014 - 3
2015 - 5

Studio projects Tuesday July 04 2017 01:55 pm

Favorite of Stage 4 / “Cobblestones” / 2015

Riding the cobblestones is old-school cycling. There were a number of segments of these bone-jarring rocks.

Because we are always looking for ways to incorporate typography into the design we thought we could represent the stones with some examples of  ”O”s from our wood type collection.

We had also done some experimenting with doing a rainbow roll (printing with multiple ink colors using the inking rollers of the press) so we thought we could add to the “giggle.”

We had been rooting for something good to happen to Tony Martin who had a run of tough luck during the first 3 stages. Finally happened to him that by winning the stage he also got into the Yellow Jersey. We thought we would highlight both with some hand rolling.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

We offered up a “Moment of Humanity” hard for Fabian Cancellara who fell the day before and broke two vertebrae. We also saw Didi.

. . .

The tally for the TdLG years so far.

2011 - 10 points
2012 - 0
2013 - 8
2014 - 3
2015 - 5

Studio projects Monday July 03 2017 08:38 am

Favorites of Stage 3 / “Fists” / 2011

Five points to Rebecca, Lucie and “the fists.”

July 4th.

Tyler Farrar, an American stage winner.

Of course, we wanted some red, white and blue with some blind debossed stars that we could roll over to get white ones. That part seems kind of obvious.

As Farrar crossed the finish line, he held up his hands to form a “W” with his little fingers and thumbs spread in tribute to Wouter Weylandt, a friend who was killed in the Giro d’Italia in May of that year. It was Lucie, looking through our typecases who figured out we could represent Tyler’s tribute with a pair of fists printed in silver.

Wow. As I remember, Lucie was about 11 or 12 at the time. I don’t think we were ever going to think of that one. A wonderful and inevitable solution.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

This poster also was the start of both the references to the “Trident” and Didi and the red heart for “moments of humanity.” You’ll have to read the whole story (link above) to get to get those stories.

Another favorite poster good for 3 points, but 2nd to Rebecca and Lucie’s, was the Tour rolling into London in 2014.

Love the use of color on this one. The circles, made up of dots and Stymie “O”s represent the amazing crowds that showed up in England.

. . .

The tally for the TdLG years so far.

2011 - 10 points
2012 - 0
2013 - 8
2014 - 3
2015 - 0

Studio projects Sunday July 02 2017 10:29 am

Favorite of Stage 2 / “The Dog” / 2013

“He’s alive.”

I really loved the moment this poster was built around. Pretty quick after finishing it I was sorry we hadn’t spent about 3 more minutes thinking about how it was going to look when it was done and how it told the story.

The story was that a small dog ran out into the middle of the road in a small town.

It ran right into the middle of the road and stopped and looked back at his owner. In the top photo, you can see the front edge of the peloton traveling about 25 miles an hour barreling down on it. The dog’s owner started out and thought better of it and ran back. The peloton got within a couple of feet before the dog barely escaped sure death.

You can read the whole story of the stage and this poster by clicking here.

Change #1: Don’t do the headline in the same type size. You can clearly see the two wood type fonts we had made for 2013. The way we did it put the headline challenging the guy who won. Who won wasn’t important. It was that dog. I wish of the headline was of the heavy type, perhaps except for “dog.”

Change #2. The green arrow (it was a white dog, but blind debossing it doesn’t show up on the computer so white was kind of out.) But at the very least the “dog” should have been pointing back (looking at the peloton) into the other arrows. Looking back now the green arrow might have been Bakelants breaking away from the peloton and not intended to represent the dog at all. Maybe at the time, it was enough just to refer to the dog in the headline.

. . .

The tally for the TdLG years so far.

2011 - 5 points
2012 - 0
2013 - 8
2014 - 0
2015 - 0

Studio projects Saturday July 01 2017 10:44 am

Favorites of Stage 1 / 2011

Our favorite poster from any of the 5 first stages of our Tour de Lead Graffiti project is the first one from 2011.

It is hard to remember what it must have been like when we actually got to the studio to start the project on the first day, trying to figure out if we could actually pull off the project. The endurance part of the Tour de France is mind-boggling. We had no idea how long each poster would take us or what it would be like pulling what turned out to be 23 consecutive 17 hour days of watching the Tour and the letterpress.

The day had been completely uneventful. Everyone was carefully just getting their legs under them in preparation for the 21 stage “Grand Tour.” 198 riders had gotten to the final 8 kilometers of 191 total. Everyone was crowded near the front starting to gather for the final sprint. For teams with sprinters, they need to get their top 5 or so riders, one behind the other, to lead their speedster to the finish line.

The riders completely cover the 2 lane road, when all of a sudden a spectator (note him on the left side of the broadside), with his hand on his hip, rotates as the riders pass by. One of the riders clips his elbow and veers into the riders doing about 30mph. About 170 riders get caught in the crash or trapped behind it and all lost nearly 2 minutes of time against those lucky enough to have been in front of the crash.

You can read the whole story of this first poster here.

We were off and running.

Worth mentioning that we also really liked the poster from 2013 when Kittel won in front of an astounding crowd in London. We love the color of this one.

We are going to keep track of the years and how they stack up against each other. 5 points for a top slot and 3 if you come in a close second.

2011 - 5 points

2013 - 3 points

Studio projects Saturday June 17 2017 12:21 am

MF Cardamone XL clamshells

Over the past several years we’ve produced a number of clamshells for botanical artist MF Cardamone. Cardamone collects plant specimens and combines them with images and words that result in complex visual narratives that reveal the science, history, and beauty of her subjects. You can see her work here.

With a new body of work, she wanted 2 clamshells that would hold about twenty 18″ x 27″ pieces each.

Jill did a great job with producing the architecture of the clamshells and the large sheets of paste paper.

We’d done lots of largish clamshells, most notably for our Tour de Lead Graffiti series, but these are about 3″ wider and taller. It is strange how much more trouble comes from those 3″.

Below you can see an earlier 14″ x 20″ clamshell showing an example of Cardamone’s wonderful work.

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.

Studio projects Monday September 26 2016 01:06 pm

“Fight any urge to do it the easy way”
Talk 3 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 (which is worth repeating) that are going to weave through most of these projects and talks.

• Fight any urge to take the easy way.
• 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.

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

Example #1 : Waldorf School of Philadelphia 8th grade diploma

Look at any diploma you’ve ever gotten. Honestly, for the people who normally do diplomas it is a lot easier to do a nice black one, stamp the name pretty easily (they’ve got that all pretty mechanized, where we have to set it by hand). We showed a nice certificate project back in Example 1 of talk 1 of 4 that you can look at.

Here are 2 more diplomish projects we’ve done. Kalmar Nyckel. We had great fun doing the border for it.

And the AAUW.

You could photocopy or inkjet print everyone of these, but where’s the fun in that.

Example #2 : Moments Carved in Paper

The books are fairly simple, both in their scale (5″ x 9″) and also in their construction (flutter book), but we find lots of ways to complicate things and hopefully make the stories in them interesting to the reader or book collector.

You can go to our blog entry about this book and also can see the other two books in the series so far (we should be finished with book #4 within 3 weeks) in our portfolio under “books.” They are right near the top.

Example #3 : All Preservation…

Would be interesting if we could go back and redo this poster now that we know a lot more about letterpress printing and do it the same way. It took Jill 6 hours to lay out the poster. Then it took me 8 hours of painstakingly leveling each piece of wood type (which was taken from our orphan type), raising them to the correct type-height to print well.

Jill also did that nice handrolling on the paper stock before printing the line. This was done to give out as a keepsake for an American Printing History Association national conference. We just put a stack of 125 of them on the registration table with a sign asking people to only take 1.

Great fun doing this poster and we love talking about it.

Example #4 : TdLG / Wind

This may be my favorite poster we did of the 115 we did for our Tour de Lead Graffiti project. I bounce around among about 5 of them.

The quick story is that crosswinds broke the peloton into 4 groups. The need to be able to draft the rider in front of you is important, and when you lose that, it is hard to get it back, even for the best cyclists on the planet.

You can read the whole story here.

Example #5 : Laboratory Press Projet (that is not a misspelling)

We are showing this as the 5th piece for each of the talks as we think it is a significant challenge that we can make to all of the students we are talking to. I’m not sure how many will hear what we are saying, but those that do should get a lifetime of better creative work. Read it at the bottom of the first talk here.

Studio projects Thursday September 22 2016 11:02 am

“Rage against the default”
Talk 2 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 (which is worth repeating) that are going to weave through most of these projects and talks.

• Rage against the default in as many times and ways as you can.
• Fight any urge to take the easy way.
• 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.

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

Example #1 : Col du Glandon

You can read the whole story with lots of pictures at the bottom by clicking here.

We’ve not been saying much about the Tour de Lead Graffiti project as a whole as we’ve just been focusing on a poster here and there. Below is the clamshell which we build to house the whole year’s set of posters. This one is for 2015. We produce special-made pastepaper for the cover of the clamshell.

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

Example #2 : O’Connor / Wildman wedding invitation

When we do custom wedding invitations we typically interview the couple to find out something about them that will make a good invite. Erin and Ray made beer. It took about 3 minutes of talking to them before we came up with doing a set of 12 beer coasters. Honestly, just about as easy as that sounds.

You can read more of the story by clicking here and going to our portfolio page.

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

Example #3 : Grateful Dead & Alphabetachaos

Click here for the story.

This piece is so new we’ve not even put it in our online portfolio.

You can click here to see a film we did of the lockup of the 3rd run on the alphabet along with how it looks doing the handrolling.

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

Example #4 : Swarm of Bees

The whole story by clicking here

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

Example #5 : Laboratory Press “Projet”

We repeat showing this project as the last example at each of the talks, so you can read it at the bottom of the first talk here.

Studio projects Tuesday September 06 2016 02:36 am

If you know our Tour de Lead Graffiti work…

you’ll understand this.

Studio projects Saturday July 30 2016 12:06 pm

July 25 / Stage 21 / The podium at the end of the Tunnel

Clearly, a good year for our favorite overall cyclist in today’s cycling world. Chris Froome of Team Sky won his 3rd Tour de France by 04′05″, providing some very exciting stages. His major competitors simply hung on his wheel until they ran out of time to reduce his advantage. Peter Sagan of Tinkoff, a favorite sprinter (hard to root against Mark Cavendish as he closes in on the most Tour stage wins ever, winning 4 this year) won his 4th Green Jersey in as many years. He finished in the top 4 on 9 different stages and also won the jersey for Super-Combative. Rafael Majka also of Tinkoff, our favorite King of the Mountains winner from last year won again this year. Adam Yates of Orica-Bike Exchange won the best young cyclist jersey and he was exciting to watch. Clearly, his time on the podium is coming soon. Romain Bardet of AG2R La Mondiale, a Frenchman was 2nd in the Tour. We like good things happening for the French at the Tour de France. Nairo Quintana of Movistar Team, after 2 consecutive 2nd place finishes, came in 3rd. Coming in close must suck 3 years in a row. But then it is all better than coming in 4th and not being on the podium. Movistar won the team title.

Often Froome would challenge when clearly the best strategy would likely be to wait for someone else to challenge. His oddly strained-looking cycling style seems to never let on to anyone what he has left in his legs.

We thought we would show our favorite 3 final stage posters. Over the first 2 years we tended to provide the overall Tour information without much visual strategy to them. Then some interesting people got involved and things grew monumentally. Keep in mind, when we got up to do that last stage, we had been putting in 22 consecutive 17 hour days without any break of any kind. We were beat. We were beat. We were beat. We needed someone to help show us there was a light at the end of the stage.

There is a gentleman’s agreement to not challenge the leader after the next to last stage for the Yellow Jersey. Everything else is up for grabs.

André Greipel of Lotto Soudal, a strong sprinter over the past couple of years, had come up dry in the win category this year. You could see the pain on his face at the end of each sprint stage. But in the end he won the big one on the Champs-Élysées.

Click on any image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Collaborators were Ann Lemon and Amos Burkhart.

Collaborators were Rachel Strickland and Kayla Romberger.

Collaborators were Ann Lemon and Amos Burkhart.

Wow. Even doing this without printing any posters was some work. Fun work.

Studio projects Saturday July 30 2016 11:41 am

July 24 / Stage 20 / 10th nation win

We had a long-planned family trip that slowed down the posting of the final two stages of this Tour’s blog.

Stage 20, and the next to last stage, was mainly uneventful, so we thought it might be a good time to post a few favorites from past Tours that didn’t have a chance to get shown on earlier stages.

We’ll start with the next to last stage last year which was won by a Frenchman on the climb up Alpe d’Huez, one of the iconic Tour mountains.

Click on any image to see the original story of that poster.
From there can link to a larger image of the poster.

Below was a stage that had one of the most spectacular applications of team strategy associated with it. The team destroyed the rest of the riders who were dreaming of wearing the Green Jersey.

Collaborators were Kieran & Hendrik-Jan Francke.

Below is one of our favorite posters highlighting a spectacular crash.

Stage 6 / Tour de Lead Graffiti 2012

And just to show we don’t always handle crashes the same way, we took the opportunity with the one below to use our wonderful wood type “S” that is broken in half. Perfect.

Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 7

Collaborators were Rebecca Johnson Melvin & Lucie Melvin.

And another crash below to sent Johnny Hoogerland flying 12 feet off the road, over his handlebars and into a barbed wire fence. Absolutely one of the most iconic couple of images from any tour over the past 4 decades. That was also the year we fell in love with Tommy Voeckler.

Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 9

Collaborators were Donna Globus & Paul Thompson.

You need to read the whole story of the hands on this one. Click on the image and find out Lucie’s input on this one. One of the most fabulous moments in our printing of the 115 posters we did over 5 years of the Tour.

Tour de Lead Graffiti Stage 3

At this point we will stop. Everytime I look at another poster I find 2 I’d like to put up. We’ve loved a high percentage of the work we’ve done on this project.

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