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Art Crank Poster Show

Quantity Produced


Production Cost


Production Time

3 weeks

Dimensions (Width × Height × Depth)

280 mm × 380 mm (11.02 in × 14.96 in)

Page Count

Paper Stock

100% Cotton Acid-Free uncoated

Number of Colors

1 Spot + Blind




Hoefler Text (H&F-J)


This poster was for the bicycle-themed Art Crank poster show. The simple brief asks for poster submissions that have something to do with bikes. Pretty darn open if you ask me.

Living in San Francisco, where we are known for our multiple steep and inescapable hills, the concept of “hill or no hill — ride your bike” began to take form. I hand traced an old topography map of SF, traced it in Illustrator and separated the levels into vector layers and sent the file to many embossers for quotes, most of which were outrageous. After getting a reasonable quote, a sculptor used my illustrator file to hand engrave the topography of san francisco into a brass die and emboss my self-printed sheets. Two versions of the poster were made. One for the show, with the word “RIDE” printed on top of the embossing which sold out, and another alternate version with the embossed area clean of type.

While I have never personally used such an intricate emboss, I was not surprised to hear this:

Multilevel dies are exponentially more expensive than single level dies because they have to made out of brass and must be engraved. Also, it pays to take the time to ensure that you send embossers the most detailed files you can as you only get one shot at the die or you’ll have to pay for another one. Sheesh.

I think that 15 layers of topography is detailed enough to communicate the concept, and detailed enough to push the paper to its maximum elasticity.

Art Crank Poster ---Art Crank Poster ---Art Crank Poster ---Art Crank Poster


Recent Posts



Art Crank Poster


Production Method



Ven Gist



Hawk Embossing

This post was published in the original layout of FPO so all images are smaller. Project descriptions as well as production lessons are quoted in the main content area.

Post Author


Author Picture

Bryony Gomez-Palacio

Editor of FPO and co-founder of UnderConsideration LLC.

More: Online / On Twitter


Date Published

December 8, 2010


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About UnderConsideration

UnderConsideration is a graphic design enterprise that runs a network of blogs, publishes books, organizes live events and judged competitions, and designs for clients.


Brand New / Displaying opinions and focusing solely on corporate and brand identity work.

Art of the Menu / Cataloguing the underrated creativity of menus from around the world.

Quipsologies / Chronicling the most curious, creative, and notable projects, stories, and events of the graphic design industry on a daily basis.

Speak Up (2002 – 2009) / Discussing, and looking for, what is relevant in, and the relevance of, graphic design. Archives Only.

Word It (2003 – 2010) / Encouraging creative diversity in the community through monthly, one-word challenges. Archives Only.

Brand New Classroom (2010 – 2011) / Providing a space for critique and opinions on student identity workArchives Only.

graphic design

Department of Design / Designing corporate and brand identities and full development of printed and digital matter for clients.


The 2010 FPO Awards / 2011, self-published.

The 2010 Brand New Awards / 2011, self-published.

Flaunt: Designing effective, compelling and memorable portfolios of creative work / 2010, self-published.

Events & Judged Competitions

Brand New Conference / A one-day event on the development of corporate and brand identity projects by some of today’s most active and influential practitioners from around the world.

Brand New Awards / Celebrating the best identity work produced around the world.

FPO Awards / Celebrating the best print work from around the world.


Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design / 2009, Rockport.

Women of Design: Influence and Inspiration from the Original Trailblazers to the New Groundbreakers / 2008, HOW Books.

The Word It Book: Speak Up Presents a Gallery of Interpreted Words / 2007, HOW Books.

The End