• What's letterpress?

    Letterpress printing is a form of relief printing. We use an antique, cast iron press with inked rollers to 'stamp' your design into the surface of the paper. Letterpress printing has a long and illustrious history that starts with the invention of moveable type. In America, the technique is kept alive by a network of talented printers who have rejuvenated this art and use it to produce broadsides, art prints, wedding invitations, and other ephemera.

    What should I expect?

    • Impression. The letterpress stamps ink into paper via a printing plate. This impression creates a lowered, 'deboss' area. How deep is governed by the thickness of the paper, and the size of the design. We always attempt to maximize impression, unless it affects print quality.
    • Ink Coverage. Letterpress excels at fine detail and line art, but cannot match the full floods of ink offered by offset printing. Solid areas of ink become 'salty' and mottled, and will not print with complete coverage.
    • Ink Gain. The process of printing on the letterpress makes art look bolder than it does in the file. Part of this is due to the impression, and part is due to the ink spreading during printing. You should plan for your text, lines, and art to look heavier after printing, or reduce the size during the design phase.
    • Registration. Each piece runs through the printing press once per color, score, or diecut. The process is adjusted by hand and by eye. We do our best to maintain a constant registration on the letterpress, but it is natural for projects to occasionally shift in alignment due to weather, humidity, and human error.
  • Technical Details

    Our letterpress is a 12" x 18" Kluge. For most projects we don't print larger than 9" x 12", with card sizes being our most popular option.

    Letterpress plates hold an incredible amount of detail. We recommend working either with vector art, or at 1200 DPI for photographic images.

    We can print on a variety of uncoated papers, from super thin glassine to ultra thick matboard. For letterpress work, our standard paper is the 100% cotton Lettra brand, which is available in three shades of white, and three thicknesses.

    Double Sided Projects

    We normally recommend printing one side only on the letterpress where possible. This allows us to maximize the impression and effect of the process. In the case of business cards and other ephemera, we can print both sides, but one side will have more impression than the other. This is because printing the second side will flatten the first side, especially where design elements overlap.

    Ink Colors

    With letterpress printing, we can mix virtually any color from mixing colors, and order specialty inks like metallic silver and fluorescent pink. Letterpress ink is generally transparent, so we do not recommend printing lighter colors on darker paper unless you want a subtle effect.

    More Information

Ready to get started?

  • Requesting a Quote

    Remember, we will need the following to put together a quote for you:

    • A short project description. What and why?
    • The number of colors to be printed.
    • The final size of your print.
    • The number of prints.
    • The due date of your project.
    • We'll ask for your files after the first emails.

    If you are unsure on any of the above, don't worry! We can talk you through the details. We want to make sure we get all the details right, and are on the same page with your project.

Quote Request