Designers often ask us if we will work with them if they supply the design. Even though we are a fully fledged design & letterpress studio, we don't exclusively provide a combined service. Sometimes we design & print and sometimes we letterpress print only. So the answer is a resounding 'Yes - we love working with your designs.'
When we first saw this amazing wedding invitation design we knew we had a winner on our hands. It is hands down, one of our all-time-fave letterpress jobs and a fantastic example of what can be achieved when a graphic designer works with a letterpress printer to create something bigger than both of us.
"Yes - we love working with your designs."
Cat approached us with her absolutely cracking wedding invitation design. Her font combinations and typesetting walk that fine line of balancing the informal and formal simultaneously. Her design imparts a sense of movement, fun and frivolity and yet still manages to capture the importance and gravitas of the occasion. Not an easy feat to achieve.
Cat mentioned that she wanted to achieve a two-tone result. This is actually a problem for the letterpress process. Letterpress cannot print tones or tints very well on the cotton papers required for a wedding invitation. Letterpress is best at printing 100% solids colours.
To try to explain that a little better in non-printer terms, the letterpress process is more like house painting. You mix up a paint colour you like and you paint that onto your walls. You cannot all of a sudden make that paint 50% lighter - you can only paint in 100% of that colour. So it would be impossible to paint your walls in 100% orange and 100% red and have those colours blend together seamlessly.
And so how did we achieve that result? We incorporated a seldom used printing technique called split duct printing. What is actually happening is that we have placed two inks in the ink reservoir (duct) on the press at the same time. This ink has to travel down a series of rollers in order to reach the printing plate with the design on it. As the ink travels down the ink train, the ink is gently mixed together to create the effect of one colour blending smoothly into the other.
You can see it in action in this video below.
And just to make the blend a little trickier, we used a fluorescent orange and fluorescent red ink. Traditionally, fluorescent inks work best on gloss papers because the surface is smooth and shiny enabling the ink to sit evenly on the surface creating maximum impact on the eye. However, when we try to print onto a textured uncoated paper like our Gmund 100% Cotton (featured in the photos), the uneven surface diffuses the light reflecting from the ink into your eye, which makes the ink look dull rather than vibrant.
But it just so happens that we know a mad cap ink chemist who is a bit like 'Q' from James Bond - white lab coat donned and always creating experimental things for testing. He had been working on a new type of fluorescent ink and we jumped at the chance to road test it. And the results speak volumes for his genius. The colour leaps from the page! And we love the way the light and shadow interact when the typework is impressed into the paper creating that depth and dimensional effect. Just a wonderful project to work on overall.
Note: We get so many comments from designer about this font stack - it is proving to be a real trend-setter. We can put you in touch with Cat if you would like to know more about her design.