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What is Letterpress?

What is Letterpress?

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Letterpress is a process of relief printing.

I like to describe the letterpress process in two lights - the "old way" and the "new way". The "old way" includes typesetting the form with individual letters made of wood or metal as well as image blocks that are either hand carved or metal mounted on wood (see above). Each individual component is then locked into place, mounted into the press, rolled over with ink, and pressed into the paper. 

The "new way" of letterpress uses digital design processes to create a polymer plate, or a thin plastic sheet with a raised image (See below). This plastic sheet is then adhered into a flat, type-high base, locked into place, and printed. While this way allows for more freedom with imagery and typeface selection, the intricacy of the process is on the front end in the graphic design stages rather than the process of physically putting each letter, line, and image together by hand. 

Letterpress printing isn't only used to put words or designs on paper, it can be used for debossing (pushing a form into paper without pigment), die-cutting (cutting out a paper shape with a form made up of blades) and foil stamping (burning foil onto paper to be used in place of ink). 

This is a completely hands on process - hand mixed inks, hand cut paper, etc. The value of hand made paper goods can elevate your brand and make for a special keepsake. Let's get to making!