Letterpress Printing - A brief introduction


One question I often get asked is – What is the difference with letterpress? So today I thought it would be useful to give a little explanation of what letterpress printing is and why it is different to digital or ‘flat printing’.  This is by no means a technical description but hopefully you will understand how it works!

Letterpress is a traditional printing process that relies of having a positive (but mirrored) version of what you want to print that is inked and then pressed into the paper to create the print.  In this way it is very similar to any stamp, however the letterpress process utilises the force created by a printing press to get a quality printed finish. As such you can create an ‘impressed’ or debossed texture that it has come to be known for in recent years.

Letterpress wedding stationery

Traditionally the positive would be made of individual letters and spaces individually set out and then locked into place. Nowadays it is more common for printers and designers to create a design on the computer which can then be processed and turned into a metal or polymer plate (image above- inked up plate).

Once you have your design locked up or plate made - the printing press comes into play! Printing presses come in various shapes, sizes and designs but the principles are very straight forward. The plate is inked then brought into contact with the paper to create the print.


Because of the nature of the press it is possible to control the amount of force with which the plate is pressed into the paper which means you can create a the beautiful ‘impressed’ texture that letterpress has come to be known for. It is such a beautiful, high quality finish that it is becoming used more and more often for wedding invitations

That is just a brief introduction – I will talk a little bit more about what it means for impression, blind printing, colours and papers over the coming months so please check back in for more information on letterpress wedding invitations.

Also if you have a question, please add it into the comments and I will let get back to you on any letterpress stuff....