Lead Graffitiportfolio ] workshops | blog | store | calendar 
 books | broadsides [ certificates ] invites | other

 

Waldorf School of Philadelphia

8th grade diplomas for 2017

DIPLOMAS AREN'T BOOKMARKS in your life; they are monuments. This project is one of our most favorite (and continuing) we've ever worked on. And it has a client. And kids.

On the Lead Graffiti website, we posted a list of various projects we would love to do. One project was a letterpress diploma, maybe for a high school, where the kids had their hands in the process.

Cristina, a teacher at the time at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, was thinking about diplomas for her 8th-grade class, which would graduate in June 2012. She Googled "letterpress diplomas" and found our wish list of projects. She visited our studio to talk about the diplomas, and we came up with a plan to energize and involve her students.

Plan A

WE'VE LONG BEEN FANS of the design for the Nobel Prize certificates (an international award given yearly for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Economics, and Peace). Each one includes a piece of original artwork by a Swedish artist, along with the certificate produced completely in calligraphy.

The Nobel Prize shown here is for Elinor Ostrom, who won for Economics in 2009.

The Nobel Prize shown here is for Elinor Ostrom, who won for Economics in 2009.

We were excited to contribute to celebrating this milestone with these students as they started their high school years. With the Nobel Prize as our working model, we made the plunge and took Plan A to the Waldorf School.

Meet the clients

WITH PORTFOLIO IN HAND, we met with the students to talk about letterpress, Lead Graffiti, keepsakes, and their diplomas. The students were great clients. They asked good questions and were excited about getting their hands dirty in all of the processes. We had found the perfect group to test the limits of the feasibility of this project.

Plan A on steroids

THE WALDORF SCHOOL OF PHILADELPHIA has a very hands-on teaching style so that the various elements would reflect an emphasis on the students' handcrafted work.

  • Each student would write a short line of calligraphy in their style which Lead Graffiti would scan and incorporate into the diploma's design.
  • Original artwork, contributed to by all of the other students in the class, would complement each diploma.
  • Each student's artwork and diploma would be enclosed in a custom made folio, wrapped in a sheet of paste paper which they hand painted in a Lead Graffiti workshop.
  • As best they could, students would participate in hand setting their names in metal type and printing them onto their diplomas.

And the winner is …

THE HAND ROLLED SUN and radiating calligraphy were printed by Lead Graffiti later after the students had fulfilled their typesetting and printing parts. During the same time, we also made custom folios (using each student's paste paper) to hold their art piece and diploma. The best reward was getting to present all the finished folios to the class, showing them their beautiful work and getting all those excited thank yous.

Here is the look of a finished diploma from 2017.

Here is the look of a finished diploma from 2017.

These 4 pastel drawings from 2017 show the range of styles represented in the finished diploma folios.

These 4 pastel drawings from 2017 show the range of styles represented in the finished diploma folios.

Honestly, for us, it just doesn't get better than this.