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.
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