the allure of
printing terminology | beautiful invitations
Letterpress is absolutely stunning which is why it is one of our favorite styles to create as artist and stationers. You have probably heard the term “letterpress” more than once, but what exactly is it that makes this form of printing so uniquely beautiful? It is a classic form of printing that has been modernized, but its true nature of beauty and authenticity remains unchanged. The letterpress printing technique has evolved over the years. Historically, the printing press – the first method of mass producing anything printed – used letters, carved entire pages of text, or engravings to create the image. The ink merely ‘kissed’ the page and didn’t make an impression. However, today, people seek to have the “pressed” be literal and want the ink really pressed in to create the effect of dimension. Polymer dies have replaced boxes of letters to create an image. Now we print almost any artwork that can be created!
The art of letterpress printing is one of the original printing techniques and is still used today because of the beautiful results that it can produce on cards and invitations. We use this to give your prints dimension which flat printing can’t do, and it ends up being absolutely spectacular! Printing has changed quite a lot over the years, making it difficult to receive the same results through modern technology, which is why us paper nerds love this reimagined historic technique!
How does it work?
When letterpressing, an inked roller coats the elevated portion (the design) of a polymer die and then is pressed into paper. The raised portion applies the ink as well as indents the surface of the paper, giving your paper dimensionality. We use soft papers that are “fluffy” so that the fibers can be condensed and the impression is accentuated.
This technique is similar to blind debossing. The difference is “blind” refers to the lack of ink. The design is pressed into the paper fibers leaving the paper showing through. While polymer plates are used for letterpressing on our original Heidelberg machine, debossing plates can be metal or polymer.
Letterpress is one of our favorites around here. It is classic and timeless. Combined with a cotton paper, it feels and looks very lux. Whether you have a special wedding day coming up, or you just want to jazz up those business cards, Letterpress is definitely a way to make to make a statement if you want to leave a lasting impression (pun intended).