Tour de Lead Graffiti / 23 posters in 23 days

Our time is really starting to get squeezed as we prepare to start our “23 posters in 23 days project”, paralleling the Tour de France which runs from July 2 - 24 (includes two rest days and we will try to translate both of those, also). We’ll be reacting to the day’s events and translating those moments and incidents into wood and metal type.

We are printing on Somerset Textured White 300 gsm which has a wonderful, heavy feel to it. The poster size is 14.75” x 22” with the deckle edge left on the top and bottom edges.

I thought some of you might be interested in following along. We’ll be posting each day’s results as we go.

It was interesting starting the project through Might be something a number of you should consider. There have been several letterpress projects offered there. The option of providing ‘rewards’ at various price breaks makes it interesting to a wide audience. If you want to see the project on you can click below.

We had a couple of wood typefaces cut specifically for the project. One we are really excited about is a Clarendon Heavy both solid and outline (see image below). We ended up needing the outline as we are printing 10 copies of all 46 runs and we wanted to leave more open space than the solid would allow. We really love the way it looks (4 point outline on a 12 line size).

We also sold “stage days” with us, thinking there might be some people that wanted some creative letterpress or Vandercook experience (we are printing on our automatic Universal III) and would enjoy the creative camaraderie. A couple of fairly close friends, some who letterpress and some who don’t, and even the 8 year-old son of our website designer are joining us for a day. All total we have non-Lead Graffiti printers on 14 of the 23 days at this point.

We start each day with a 4-hour “live TV” feed of the Tour on Versus (NBC Sports). Then lunch on the patio to discuss what we saw that we can translate to the poster. Then to the studio to “print from hip” in at least two colors. Assuming the minimum time to design, compose and print is 4 hours for each color that makes each day a minimum of 13 hours + dinner in there somewhere. We love the ability to be spontaneous and to design on the fly that comes from letterpress.

Hopefully, the results will be nice and we will be looking for places to exhibit the set, if you know of anything.

Wish us luck.

Ray Nichols
[email protected]
Newark, Delaware

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You can read the details about the design and production of our poster for Stage 1 of the Tour de Lead Graffiti, paralleling events in the 2011 Tour de France on our website.

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Stage 2 - the Team Time Trial

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Stage 3 of the Tour de Lead Graffiti: July 4th.

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I really like the hand-rolled ink over the blind deboss. Nice technique.

Stage 4 was pretty moment or incident free except for rain, a bunch of flat tires, and a very close finish between Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador.

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