Moments Carved in Paper no. 4 :
Endurance Letterpress

Tour de Lead Graffiti : 2011 - 2015

THIS BOOK IS THE 4TH in a series of autobiographical books collectively titled, Moments Carved in Paper. The most colorful so far, No. 4 is the first within this series to document and highlight some of Lead Graffiti's favorite and most memorable creative work.

Moments Carved in Paper #4: Endurance Letterpress tells the story of one of our largest personal projects, Tour de Lead Graffiti, and our surprising introduction to what we call "endurance letterpress."

A 5-year project spanning 2011 through 2015, this book recounts some of the exciting and visual highlights of designing and printing a poster documenting each racing stage and rest day of the Tour de France. 


Calling all hands

COLLABORATORS, FROM MANY BACKGROUNDS and modes of acquaintance, were invited to get involved with the project by joining Lead Graffiti staff each morning to view the Tour live on TV,  watching for significant cycling moments. Over lunch, we would talk about what we saw and how it might be visually translated into a typographic broadside. Lunch always ended in dessert, usually a slice of pie for us.

Heading to our 2,200 square foot letterpress studio to spend the rest of the day, the group typically averaged about 9 hours to design and print a 14.5" x 22.5" broadside. Together we would print 45 copies of the day's poster, signed by all contributors, with each contributor getting 2 copies for volunteering their ideas, energy and enthusiasm.

Our task was to somehow translate the day's most memorable moments visually through handset wood & metal type (and anything else available inside the studio) in lots of colorful ink on paper—all before midnight. The next morning the whole process would start all over again, watching the live broadcast and looking for new moments.

It's called endurance letterpress for a reason

BY THE END OF THE 23 CONSECUTIVE DAYS of each Tour, Lead Graffiti staff averaged about 17 hours per day. Just as the cyclists of the Tour de France raced in all weather, we printed each summer in an un-airconditioned, all-metal building during July.

Part of our reason to start this project had been to increase the number of posters in our portfolio. Another part was to tackle the mechanics of making clamshell boxes. The extended effort now encompasses 5 different clamshells, 115 stage posters, plus 20 other broadsides representing titles, relevant racing descriptions, and colophons.

Production details

Moments Carved in Paper no.4 : Endurance Letterpress

This book is currently available in our Lead Graffiti store online.

Edition : 115 books, numbered, printed in 2017. Numbers 1 through 12 offered in a custom clamshell box.

Size : 28 pages, 5" x 9" overall

Binding : Bound by hand in a flutter book format with glued foredges

  • Soft wraparound cover on Somerset Textured White 300 gsm with title printed on front and spine
  • Text block printed on Somerset Textured White 300 gsm with 5 full-color photo spreads printed stochastically on coated stock via offset, and 5 tipped-in inkjet photos.
  • Pages include title and colophon

Production :

  • Text and cover designed and digitally composed in Rialto with various display fonts and printed with photopolymer plates.
  • Printed slowly & patiently via letterpress in black on a Vandercook Universal III.

Prices / ordering

Moments Carved in Paper no.4 : Endurance Letterpress

  • softcover edition is $170 plus shipping.
  • deluxe clamshell edition is $430 plus shipping.

Also available :

  • Tour de Lead Graffiti
  • Full sets of posters for 2011 - 2015, each in a clamshell box ($650 - $750) + free shipping
  • Individual posters still available @ $35 each and specially designed frames for hanging most of our broadsides @ $45 + free shipping.

Next entry : Leonard Baskin