Printing Methods: What is Letterpress? Foil Printing? Digital Printing?

 

Choosing the best printing method will depend on when you need your invitations to be delivered, how much you have budgeted, and the design or style you love.

You probably didn’t know, but next to the quantity of invitations you will order, the printing method you choose will influence the cost of your invitations. You’ll quickly be able to know which printing method is right for your project based on cost, timeline, and artwork.

Learn more about when to send your invitations 

Each printing method has different strengths and weaknesses. Digital printing can look like original artwork, or a long-lost love letter. Letterpress turns into a keepsake, something tangible. Foil printing is truly metallic, and can be printed on so much more than paper.

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Digital Printing

Cost: $
Timeline: 2-4 weeks from approving your final proof
Why do I love it
When digital printing is done on high quality paper, it will look like each piece was done by hand—not printed. We take this into account when designing for a digitally printed invitation suite to make the artwork look like a true work of fine art.

How it works
This method is probably the most familiar to all of us. Put the paper in the printer, and out pops the artwork magically on the page. There’s a little bit more to it though, good digital printing happens when the machine is tuned to perfection. It takes an experienced and watchful eye to customize the settings for each job, and keep them consistent throughout the entire production of your invitation suite. Because of this, we do almost all of our digital printing in-studio to ensure the highest and most consistent quality we can.

Consider This
The most important consideration is the kind of paper used. High quality cotton papers can make artwork look like each piece was done individually by-hand.

crosskeys-vineyard-letterpress

Letterpress

Cost: $$
Timeline: 6 weeks from approving your final proof
Why do I love it
It gives your invitations dimension, meaning they don’t feel two-dimensional like a flat piece of paper, they feel three-dimensional… more like a keepsake.

How it works
We’ve all heard of the printing press right? That innovation that changed history by making information sharable through books and newspapers (which are almost extinct today). Using similar printing machines as back then, letterpress printed invitations trumpet these early and important printing methods.

First, a plate is ordered and made, this can take 1-2 weeks. Artwork is raised off of the plate like a stamp, but these stamps aren’t made of rubber, they are made of hard plastic. During printing, weight is applied to the plate as it’s pressed into the paper. It takes a lot of force to

Consider This
Only one color can be printed at a time on the press, and each color needs it’s own unique plate. Adding multiple colors can quickly make your invitations expensive.

goldfoil

Foil Printing

Cost: $$$
Timeline: 6 weeks from approving your final proof
Why do I love it
You can print on any color and texture of paper, such as velvet or wood (and so many others).

How it works
Like letterpress, foil printing uses a plate and a printing press machine. Foil printing adds another component to the printing process though: Heat, and metallic foil. Plates have to be made from metal, and are heated to around 220 degrees during printing. When the metallic foil is sandwiched between the hot metal plate and the paper, the foil is pressed into the paper permanently leaving you with foil printed cards that have a three dimensional feel.

Consider This
Foil printing is priced by the size of your card, not by how much foil is used. Doing two printing methods on your invitations will actually cost you more not less than printing the whole card in foil.

 
InvitationsStaci Cullen