Tour de Lead Graffiti 2014

T minus 1: We celebrate the arrival of hurricane Arthur here in Delaware with the start of our 4th annual Tour de Lead Graffiti project.

You can tune in each day starting Sunday when we post our poster printed via letterpress translating the events of the previous day’s stage of the 2014 Tour de France. The Tour de France runs through July 27th.

Bookmark this URL below and drop in each day for the next three weeks. That URL will show you the most recent poster.

It is a non-stop, approximately 15 hour day each of 23 consecutive days. We are really looking forward to seeing what we can come up with this year after having done 69 posters over the previous 3 years.

The British Library in London and the Boston SPA branch in Leeds is celebrating this year’s ‘grand depart’ from England with exhibitions of our posters from all three previous years. Incredibly exciting to think of our work hanging in the British Library. The exhibition in London of about 20 of our posters from the 2012 and 2013 clamshell box editions will be on display through November, if any of you find yourself nearby.

In instances where there is a next poster available, clicking on the image will take you to the next one. There is also a link on each page to show you a double-sized version.

We also include photos at the bottom of each page of studio shots and a lock-up or 2. We currently have collaborates schedule to work with us on about 16 of the 23 days. It is always interesting to get new people in here and introduce them to letterpress as well as the Tour de France

Below you can see the clamshell edition of the 23 posters and supporting material from Tour de Lead Graffiti 2013 and also one of our favorite posters from that year. The poster represents a visualization of strong crosswinds breaking the peloton (main group of riders who were running at high speed and were quite strung out) into four groups, each losing ground to the group in front of them.

You can cycle through each of the posters from last year by going to the link below. Clicking on the image will cycle you through the posters.

image: tdlg13-clamshell-370.jpg


image: tdlg13-13-wind-370.jpg


Log in to reply   43 replies so far

This is an advertisement - please post in the correct section of Briarpress - You have done this several years - its time to stop.

The discussion forum is for sharing ideas and seeking help - its not to sell your inventory.

I suspect you won’t stop, but maybe host will remove you as it does others spam posting

CarolinaPrinter, you have also posted that this is an advertisement for several years (well, two).

I fail to see how this is spam. There are many projects on the boards which also involve goods being sold, but whose threads are not straight sales-pitches, and I don’t see any references to posters being sold above, just details of the project’s scope and vision.

The posts from this project have remained in place and generated positive discussion on the forums and why wouldn’t they, as it is a letterpress poster project of a decent scale and with some interesting techniques.


Its spam when a post potentially reaches the more than 70k members of Briarpress, promotes your posters, and has links to buy product. I believe the sole purpose of the post is made is to sell posters (or possibly brag about how “special” I am). Its unabashed self-promotion that will be repeated a number of times over the next 3 weeks and, as you point out, has been done in years past.

Yes, there have been other “sales” efforts on the discussion board, but that doesn’t make it right - Moreover, the repetitive nature of this one makes worse.

Of course, lack of respect for a forum’s mission and of voluntary compliance with the guidelines is a trademark of the www.

Guess I shouldn’t waste my time objecting when it won’t it won’t make any difference.


I also don’t see this as spam. I enjoy the behind the scenes look at a large letterpress project. I don’t think these forums need to be exclusively limited to “help, my ink isn’t working” posts. If they want to go above and beyond, they could also take out an ad promoting the posters for sale, but I’m not going to raise an issue and I certainly don’t think the post should be deleted.

Spam is mass-posting of something with the specific aim of drowning out other content or available products. Even if this was a wholly commercial post, and I don’t agree with your claim that it is, it wouldn’t be “spam”, it would be an ad in the wrong section.

If this project really bothered people, it might be a suggestion to post updates about it on Lead Graffiti’s profile/press-registry page, if they have one? It would allow other users to see new updates, but keep everything in the same spot.

It is really hard to not respond to this. I do think we at Lead Graffiti are pretty special. We surely spend a lot of effort trying to be pretty special. I think some of our projects and their application to letterpress are pretty special, because we look hard and think hard to find interesting applications that are pretty special. That places like the British Library clearly seem to think we are pretty special and that is pretty special.

I would also mention that I’ve done a number of classified ads for our workshops and for equipment we want to sell, and while we do sell the Tour de Lead Graffiti posters and clamshell box editions, that wasn’t the point of my note. Just because we have a link to our store on our site doesn’t really mean much.

If you agree with CarolinaPrinter throw a comment in here.

If you do not agree, throw a comment in here.

If the Tour de France is a commercial enterprise, it should be banned from non-commercial news sites. That is NOT going to happen, because it is not a commercial enterprise, it is a sporting event. I consider the Tour de Lead Graffiti to be similarly a sporting event, in that the team is competing against the clock to produce a work of art that reflects the events of the day — every day for the length of the Tour de France. I also really enjoy seeing the daily product when it is posted online — and I believe their presentation of the results, or a link to them, on BP is a public service, especially for the thousands of letterpress fans who want to see the daily results.


I wouldn’t call this spam (its not an attempt to sell tennis shoes or something non letterpress related) but neither would I have thought it open to a discussion (discussion of what?), at least not until CarolinaPrinter called it out. I would have thought it more an announcement and perhaps should have been posted as such in classifieds (where it would have more longevity and perhaps would appeal to more folks). Though I think now we have a discussion brewing.


I enjoy seeing what other people are printing, these kids have posted this for a few years now, I don’t see any harm in it.

I’m having a hard time sleeping (excited to start the project I guess) and I thought I would look around Briar Press a bit to see if there was another more appropriate place for my note.

Classifieds honestly seem like the right option, but as Gerald alluded to is the issue of discussion. Even though we don’t get as much as I like on Briar Press, there is no possibility of it with a classified entry.

While we don’t get many (any?) comments except from CarolinaPrinter or Briar Press readers saying “I don’t see any harm in it.” the ability to gather even my own discussion about the project (it does last for 23 days) seems as relevant to the normal Briar Press audience as how do you derust something. I find it rather astounding that someone wouldn’t see the value in the process for this project as seriously more important than the notion that they are for sale. Even someone that chronicles a detailed restoration might sell the piece afterwards. But if it helps someone else do a restoration it seems to have the ‘discussion’ value.

Even in a classified ad you can’t do much, if anything, to update it. The average reader wouldn’t likely see that anything had been changed.

I like to come back every so often and add more images or explain a particularly interesting result (at least to me) for a few of the posters.

We encourage collaborators on any of the stages which we think is an interesting way to essentially run a workshop and introduce students and others to the letterpress process. And it doesn’t cost them anything and we buy lunch. Maybe that idea alone will give someone else on Briar Press an idea of how to get people into their studio (if so inclined).

I’ll keep posting to this note. Anyone that doesn’t want to follow along can just see the title and ignore it.

well said, if anyone doesn’t want to follow along just ignore it. like I said I enjoy seeing what others are doing. please keep posting you have at least one fan.

Agree with CarolinaPrinter.

Self-righteous, self-important spam.

The danger is that this sets a precedence that selling on the discussion forum is ok - (if you are American, and are self important I guess!)

It’s not about the subject matter (I love le tour).

It’s about how in their pursuit of money (and watch them claim that this is not their pursuit), one person thinks that they’re above the system.
They’re not.

Shut this down already please.
Such a lack of integrity if it isn’t.

Wow, taking the time and energy to script such a nasty-gram seems pretty out there. Why so much anger? Are you really not able to see any merit in sharing this time-sensitive project in real time on the most appropriate forum available? Not the least be curious to see what people come up with in this format…not even professionally?
And what is wrong with self-promotion? Don’t we all have to do this - or pay some one else to?
The interest value of the technical info and printed output posted on a regular basis for a couple of weeks a year in this forum far outweighs anything that might seem objectionable re the promotion/advertising of the final products.

Oh Brother….

Lead Graffiti

I note that the lead discussions here are starred. And are basically announcements that encourage discussion. I assume one has to pay for that (or at least contribute something financially), like the starred announcements in classified. Would not that have been the preferred way to do this? I ask this as a question because the starred discussions seem to be a relatively new thing and I cannot find a reference to them, but it would seem to be the clean way to go.


Why bite the hand of the person who has helped you in the past?

Lead Graffiti,
I fired up the computer this morning and came right to Briarpress to see if the Tour de Lead Graffitti was on.
I look forward to every new post(er).
Not only are they clever, they are quickly and beautifully executed and the photos of the progress are fun to see.
Keep up the great work, let the ney sayers click on ink problems and type ID.
As a concession, maybe a new category for BP could be added for “Work or Work(s) in Progress”. It could include things like the tour, moving & restoring presses, setting up a shop, etc.
Congrats on the exhibit in London. Thanks for sharing.

Steve Varvaro, Southpaw Printers

Lead Graffiti,
I fired up the computer this morning and came right to Briarpress to see if the Tour de Lead Graffitti was on.
I look forward to every new post(er).
Not only are they clever, they are quickly and beautifully executed and the photos of the progress are fun to see.
Keep up the great work, let the ney sayers click on ink problems and type ID.
As a concession, maybe a new category for BP could be added for “Work or Work(s) in Progress”. It could include things like the tour, moving & restoring presses, setting up a shop, etc.
Congrats on the exhibit in London. Thanks for sharing.

Steve Varvaro, Southpaw Printers

Two people out of 70K complain …and call it spam…flag it or don’t read it. I’m waving my red, white, and blue Flag and yelling FREEDOM OF THE PRESS!!! 1st amendment of The Bill of Rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

@Girl with a kluge

Because integrity is more important than popularity and capitalism.

I’m going to run a Kickstarter for letterpress prints for Muslim art. Our plates are made from composted sacred soil in Iran. Funds raised go to me.

It’s an interesting technique. etc etc.
Watch this idea and discussion post disappear.

I again repeat, integrity is more important than popularity and capitalism.

Here is the full 1st Amendment from the Bill of Rights:
First Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

@ CD “I’m going to run a Kickstarter for letterpress prints for Muslim art. Our plates are made from composted sacred soil in Iran. Funds raised go to me”.
Does that mean your dies are made of manure? They sure should hold up well on just a kiss impression…but what about the fashionable deep impression? Of course no insult is intended….just curious….should work out well on your Heidelberg platen

Guys & Gals, Lets us not forget that the Wright brothers were printers and bicycle guys, and probably played with model airplanes, and whats so wrong with a little hubris in this day and age. Right Arm Lead Graffiti. j

Courtney Doyle, not to district from this wonderful thread, but I am curious as to your decision to focus on muslim art with your soil-plate project, are you saying this would be a ridiculous area of focus for a letterpress series and as such be derided by BP users?

Few letterforms, or indeed graphic expressions, exist that are as beautiful as those found in islamic tradition.

@steve varvaro As a concession, maybe a new category for BP could be added for “Work or Work(s) in Progress”. It could include things like the tour, moving & restoring presses, setting up a shop, etc.

I really like this idea. Why not have a self-promo area on the site? I think it’s great to see the work other printers are doing. It’s inspiring and educational as well.

Regarding the first amendment, it really has no bearing on a private enterprise such as a Briar Press and what the owners decide to allow or disallow. If they’re not complaining about this thread, then it’s not going away. Feel free to be upset about it, though.

Wow, true colors showing.
If a conservative doesn’t care for a posting they
just ignore the post and move on.
If l liberal doesn’t like a post they try to have the subject banned.

Seriously Ted? Let’s leave the politics out of it, mmkay, because I see a lot things conservatives would like to ban too.

Why do Americans always need to bring up their system of politics for an _international_ discussion forum? American politics and bill of rights etc etc is irrelevant, and the rest of the world laughs at you while you blow your trumpet.

Back to the issue:

No one answered the part about integrity.

> Why do we let some people sell blatantly sell goods and profit on the discussion forum, while shooting others down?

Ignoring is always an option - but hey - lets ignore all those spam posts too. There isn’t one set of rules for some people, and other sets of rules for others. Rules are there for a reason.

Hopefully there’s a half-way house compromise that can be found.

I was the first to object to this post, but have laid low since to see what others might say.

Someone suggested a different category for posting of projects that is separate and apart from Discussion. I sorta like the idea of a “Gallery” section that will freely allow all to share their work and share the technical aspects. Whether the gallery will permit links to where posts can be purchased is for our hosts to decide.


Maybe I don’t pay attention enough, but I haven’t seen others “blatantly sell goods and profit on the discussion forum” before. If LG had simply thrown up a post that said, “Check out our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters and buy one,” I can see the objection. This is so much more than a sales gimmick, though. It’s clearly a labor of love, they document their process for all to see, and I can’t see any way they’d recoup the time and costs through selling some posters.

Hopefully our benevolent hosts will add another discussion category for self-promotion with the guideline that all entries need to be more than just “Here’s what we have for sale” posts. If the post has the type of background that Lead Graffiti put into this, then I have no problem with a link to a shopping site.

I believe the people who post on this site have integrity. I am honest…as are many. We all have different upbringings. I hope that you can see that this is not a popularity contest. Everyone will help you with letterpress.
As for capitalism…I like it…but that is for another discussion offline

Strange that there was a note posted the same day as I posted mine (July 4) which talks about casting type, giving at least approximate costs for purchase, etc.

Not one comment yet.

I also love how people who don’t know me, have never met me, don’t have the foggiest understanding of what impacts my decision making process and beliefs, but can tell the 70K members of Briar Press exactly what it is that I believe.

Thanks to all who have supported Tour de Lead Graffiti. Keep tuning in each day to “what happened next.”

Also if you are inclined to drop over to our Facebook page, we have a competition each day for a FREE poster. You do have to pay for shipping. All you have to do is be the closest guess to the time we will finish the last run of the poster.


If you are interested in seeing our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters and reading the stories about how they came to be just go to

Just click on the image and you will go to the next stage. There is also a link to an enlarged version of the poster that can show you more of the detail.

When you are there you will find a lot of other details on our blog that might interest you.

You’re letting them get in your head- you’re never gonna win the tour thinkin’ like that!

Print on, and keep posting,

I have no problem with the original post. Best comments would have been asking poster for help/advice.
Link below to pic I posted

Lead Graffiti

The 7/4 post that you refer to was inappropriate. But that post doesn’t make yours appropriate. Moreover, if your post was the first “advertisement” you had posted, I likely would not have said anything - Its your continuing posts touting your products for sale that does not belong in a discussion forum. But this is the anonymous internet where you can get away with most anything. So have a nice day!


So. CP is the administrator of this site? If not, from where does the power to term honest input and fair comment as ‘inappropriate’, and then proceed to condemn the poster, arise?. Jus’ askin’.
Got a problem with a poster? Take it to them that runs the joint.
Jus’ sayin’. :o)

who exactly is this anonymous person you keep referring to? Unlike yourself, Ray has his full name listed on his profile.

You seem to be one out of two posters on BP who finds anything even remotely objectionable about this post.

In spite of your clearly defined “rules” for what is “appropriate”, taken from your own imagination, BP isn’t for chatting, troubleshooting *or* selling, there is bound to be threads that are both art and commerce, everyone else seems to be fine with that…


As letterpress printers we often have very small and isolated operations. I see nothing wrong with Lead Graffiti tooting their own horn, and perhaps getting some (hopefully positive ) feedback from people of like interests. What could have been a chance to see someone else’s work, and an interesting model of artistic co-operation, instead has become a nit-picking session over their right to display their printing in a ‘proper’ forum. This is an annual production, and I’m sure there are plenty of printers who would benefit from LG’s enthusiasm. I did not see anything in their initial post that was attempting to sell any item, perhaps following the links would get to that, but one would have to be interested enough on the outset to find that out. I wish more printers would share their finished projects on this site. It gets dreary seeing nothing but printing problems, as printers we have so much more to share.

Thanks for the support for our work and interest in promoting letterpress. I’ve gotten a surprising number of personal emails from supporters. I truly appreciate knowing someone wants to hear the story.

2 of my favorite posters from week 1 of Tour de Lead Graffiti.

image: week-1-bp.jpg


Any comments or advice asked for and given on this site are searchable via Google. this leads to increased sales for some, myself included. Therefore any help I post here is a form of advertisement. I purposely post using my own name. I have also given detailed assistance via PMs. I want to see what others are doing, creating and selling.

You are probably pulling my leg…and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. You are very smart, sorry for the knee jerk reaction.