WHAT IS LETTERPRESS PRINTING?
Letterpress transports us back to an era of quality, when printing was considered the craft of masters rather than a commodity based manufacturing process. Having begun in Europe in the 14th century the letterpress print process is steeped in nostalgia, each impression building upon centuries of acquired knowledge.
Letterpress print is a relief printing process, which means that the type and artwork can be impressed into the paper rather than sit on the surface like conventional printing. When coupled with the classic feel of 100% cotton fibre papers that are designed to crush, letterpress print creates a tactile experience with greater visual impact and definition.
CAN I SUPPLY MY OWN ARTWORK?
At The Love Press we provide a letterpress design service for customers who do not possess the necessary design skills. Our process is very inclusive. We like to take the time to get to know you, so that we may better understand your needs. And we certainly encourage your recommendations in terms of colour palettes, font selections, design styles and format recommendations.
However, if you would like to provide your own artwork then that is definitely ok with us! Producing the best letterpress design outcome requires an understanding of the parameters of this printing process. Whether you are new to letterpress design or have had previous experience in the design industry, we encourage you to spend some time reading our Media Supply Guide before you embark on your design project.
WHY DOES LETTERPRESS COST MORE?
Letterpress costs more than digital printing due to the processes involved. In the case of digital printing, we take your artwork file like a PDF and output that design directly to the paper. If there are colour or positional amendments required, we can make those on the press with the click of a button and they are done immediately. The job comes out the other end, we put it into the guillotine, trim, pack and despatch it. Easy, simple, cheap and fast.
When it comes to letterpress, the process is more complicated and hands on. Firstly, we need to convert your artwork file to a film negative (like old school camera film). Then we convert that negative into a printing plate. That printing plate is processed and mounted onto the press. The ink is mixed by hand just like it is in a paint shop. If we have to adjust the colour density this is done manually and can take between 30-50 press sheets to settle. We have to adjust the position and the depth manually.
In a nutshell, everything about letterpress is done manually and meticulously. The results are simply spectacular in contrast to digital printing, which is the reason why people are going ga-ga for letterpress.
WHAT DESIGNS ARE SUITABLE FOR LETTERPRESS?
This is one of those
'How long is a piece of string' type of questions. There is just so much you can and cannot do when it comes to letterpress. Check our comprehensive
Media Supply Guide
But for those who want to skim the information here are a few quick tips.
Generally designs are in either in one or two colours. So if you design a wedding invitation in black, that is classed as one spot colour. If you design in black and navy that is classed as two spot colours.
Colour needs to be set up as Pantone Solid Uncoated NOT in CMYK.
Avoid large solid areas of colour (ie any continuous area larger than 20 x 20mm) as these do not print well.
We cannot print colour images. Whilst we can print one colour images, it is generally avoided because they are too low in print resolution. Think really old school black and white newspapers from the 1950s.
Letterpress is all about fonts and the way those fonts are matched, sized, kerned and positioned. Avoid using really small fonts like 6 points and certainly do not choose fonts that are super thin.
Please ensure that all lines are at least 0.3points thick.
Whilst we can use almost any paper for letterpress generally the best result are acheived by using our 100% cotton papers. Cotton papers allow us to press the text deeply into the paper.
WHAT IS A GOOD SIZE FOR A WEDDING INVITATION?
When it comes to selecting a size for your invitation, we recommend beginning with your envelope. There is no point designing a custom sized invitation if there are no envelope available in that desired size. So choose your envelope first.
Generally envelopes are available in these three common sizes.
C6 114 x 162 mm
C5 162 x 229 mm
DL 110 x 220mm
CAN I PRINT MY GUESTS' NAMES ON EACH INVITATION?
The ability to print different names on each invitation is known as variable data. If we are printing your wedding invitations digitally then you certainly can have that as a feature.
However if we are printing them letterpress then you cannot. Instead we recommend printing a generic invitation and then digitally printing your envelopes with your guests' names for that personal touch.
CAN YOU PRINT WHITE IN LETTERPRESS?
Many people like to print white ink on a dark coloured paper. We cannot white print for letterpresss. If you do require white printing, we can either digitally white print or can white foil.
CAN YOU LETTERPRESS IN METALLIC INK?
We can letterpress usines metallic inks. However, a metallic ink generally looks quite flat when we print onto uncoated papers. So a silver will appear to be grey. It will have a very slight shimmer about it but generally people prefer us to hot foil stamp instead.
Hot foil stamping if where we use metallic foil to get that really metallic look - like on toothpaste boxes for example. See a sample here.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT LETTERPRESS PAPER?
One touch is to fall in love. The reason that people just love stroking letterpress paper is because it is crafted from 100% cotton fibre. As you can imagine, cotton fibres are soft and fluffy, so the paper feels like most luxurious of fabrics.
And for the printer, the cotton fibres in letterpress paper compress readily, making the paper ideal for accentuating the letterpress impression, where the printed image is pressed into the surface delivering breathtaking results.
Our letterpress papers are pH neutral, fade resistant and are therefore archival, which means your letterpress product will last for decades when stored properly. This makes them the perfect choice for creating keepsakes like wedding invitations.
In addition, our letterpress paper is chlorine and acid free and sourced from recovered cotton fibre (EPA recognized) making it an environmentally responsible choice. These papers can also be recycled with traditional paper.
At The Love Press we carry two proven lines of 100% cotton papers, Gmund and Lettra. In addition we are able to source many other non-cotton paper stocks from all the major distributors such as Ball and Doggett and Spicers Papers.
WHAT IS YOUR TURNAROUND TIME?
We pride ourselves on providing lightning fast responses, same day quotations, speedy design services and super fast print turnarounds. The reason we can turn jobs around so quickly is because we have extensive experience in print production and management and we control the entire process inhouse, so we never have to wait on external suppliers.
Say for example you order some letterpress wedding invitations. Once we have received your artwork and determined that it is print ready, generally your job is proofed, printed and despatched within 3 days (often 2).