What is Letterpress?
Letterpress is one of the oldest forms of printing which creates results that no modern printing technique can produce. It has had an artisanal revival since it was superseded by offset and digital printing. These days, letterpress printing combines modern technology with the age old craft by using printing plates made from computer based artwork. The raised plates are then coated with inks which have been mixed by hand and eye and applied to the rollers of the press (our presses are 70-100 years young). The appeal of letterpress printing in the contemporary world is the tactile deboss it leaves as the paper (usually cotton) is literally pressed with force by these one tonne beauties.
How does Letterpress differ from your standard stationery printing?
Letterpress differs from standard printing in that the original letterpress machines are still used today for letterpress printing and require a printer (an actual person) to manually operate and adjust the press based on each job. The printer applies the ink to the press by hand and adjusts the speed and suction of the press depending on a number of factors based on the weight of the paper, the artwork and the temperature in the studio. Another difference that helps it stand apart from standard printing is that it is not limited by paper weight like digital printing is. Digital printing usually limited to paper weights between 80-300gsm where as letterpress is best printed on paper 300gsm-600gsm. We have even printed up to 1200gsm before which then lends itself to a beautiful painted or foiled edge.
What style of invitation and stationery does it suit?
Letterpress printed stationery suits any style of invitation! The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Letterpress printing lends itself to minimal colour palette. Usually 1-2 colours is all that is required on an invitation as less is definitely more, letting the tactile nature of letterpress speak for itself. My favourite designs are usually ones that have a blind deboss, which means we have printed the image or text with no ink which can still be seen because of the indent left in the paper.
What is the process?
We work with our clients to create their ideal wedding invitation on computer initially. Some clients come to us with mood boards, while others give us a brief about their wedding theme. We also have a range of designs within our collection to choose from if you prefer to simplify the process and find something that suits. Once the digital artwork has been finalised we then create the raised printing plates from the artwork. This plate is then adhered onto a metal base which is lifted into the press. Ink which has been hand mixed for the project is then applied to the rollers which then roll over the raised printing plate. The press uses suckers to pick up one sheet of paper at a time and feeds each sheet into the press to be inked up and pressed into the plate to create the debossed artwork. There really is nothing else that compares!
Do you need to have your invitation designed by an external designer or do you offer design services?
We offer full custom design services as well as having a range of pre-designed invitations to select from. If clients would like to bring their own print ready design they are more than welcome to and they can find file set up requirements on our website.
How long does the process take?
Our standard turnaround time is 12-15 business days for printing however this is project dependant. We offer express services by printing out of hours to ensure urgent projects
meet deadlines. The design process can take anywhere from an additional 2 days to a few weeks depending on how clear the client is on their vision as well as the work involved.
Can you select any colours including silver, gold and rose gold foiling with letter press?
Yes! We love to combine metallic foil printing with letterpress printing. Foil printing is a slightly different process to letterpress in that instead of ink being applied, a metal printing plate is heated and pressed against the foil into the paper which transfers the foil to the paper.
What sort of budget would a couple require for stationery to allow for letterpress?
Letterpress printed wedding invitations start from around $300 and increase in price depending on a number of factors such as the type of paper used, the weight of the paper, the number of colours being printing etc. It’s not the cheapest method of printing because of the time consuming nature however it is by far the highest quality.