Letterpress printing loves uncoated paper so this is what we tend to use, other paper can be printed on but always ask us first.
Our presses can print on a range of weights of paper from 80gsm and thinner to over 1200gsm, that’s the thickest that we’ve tried so far.
The majority of our own range wedding stationery is printed on a lovely white cotton board and vary in weight depending on the item we print and what you require as a client. The Cottons are a beautiful soft board which takes an impression really well and we also use the lovely Somerset and Saunders unbleached board if you prefer something more natural.
We also use a variety of coloured boards, namely Colorplan from GF Smith papers and Colorset from Fenner to name a few, all of these are available in a range of colours and weights, not sure what you want, just get in touch and we’ll see what we can do to help.
Can you print on dark coloured paper?
Yes we can, but the ink colour won’t be as stong as it would be on a light coloured board. Letterpress inks are very transluscent and we only lay down a thin layer of ink at a time and some of the paper colour will show through, something to bear in mind when designing for letterpress. Metallic letterpress inks often work well on dark coloured boards and the use of a transparent ink can give a lovely effect rather than just using a blind deboss.
If you need a white or other light colour ink on a dark coloured board we recommend the use of hot foil.
How deep can you go?
The modern trend is for creating a deep impression with letterpress rather than the ‘Kiss’ print of days gone by. We can do both, as a lot of our clients prefer the deeper impression we increase this on our presses and go as far as we can before and marks or bruising are created on the back of the board. If you require printing on 2 sides of the board we will adjust the impression accordingly so that there should be no show through on either side of the card. We are governed by the design, numbr of colours etc. that need printing and increase the impression accordingly to prevent buckling of the board which can happen under too much impression.
Edge painting can give your work a whole different dimension and wow factor.
The thicker the board that you use for edge painting the greater the effect. We can match any pantone reference for edge painting, you will have to supply this with your order but it is worth noting that some boards are more absorbant than others and this can affect how the colour works on the edges of painted boards.
We will only edge paint boards that we have printing in house, generally we have to print extra items to allow for the process where there can be more waste.
If you are considering edge painting we recommend that all of the debossed or embossed design falls within the edges of the sheet, if it doesn’t some bleed can occur into these areas.
We can edge paint embossed designs but you may lost some of the height of the emboss because of the amount of pressure required to clamp down the pieces prior to edging.
Edge painting die-cut and laser cut pieces is also a minefield. Because of the variation in shapes produced by either of these processes some bleed can occur. We advise against this.
Inks & Things
All of our letterpress printing is done using rubber based inks but some processes require us to use oil based inks. Rubber based inks are the age old ink preferred by generations of letterpress printers because of their ease of use and also because of the brightness of the colour used. Sometime we have to use an oil based ink but we make sure that we source the most eco friendly oil based inks we can from Lyme Bay Press Limited
Which colour should I choose and how do I choose it?
We mix all of our inks in house to the recipe provided by the Pantone matching system (PMS). Our inks all come from the uncoated stock Formula guide and when you place an order that doesn’t use one of our standard ink colours we will need the ink colour reference, the code normally finishes with the letter u.
If you have a colour that you would like to match you will have to send us a physical sample of that colour and we will find the closest PMS match for you. This matching process cannot be done from a colour on screen.
If you would like a light colour ink on a dark card we recommend using hot foil because of the nature of the letterpress process and printing inks.
Another process that letterpress does not do very well is when printing large solids. A result called ‘salting’ or ‘sueding’ often occurs. This is because the paper will always affect the ink and even by adjusting the impression to eliminate the effect from the paper we are still only popping down a very thin layer of ink which isn’t laid down a smoothly and as opaque as other print techniques.
How long is a piece of string…. this is the answer to how many fonts we have access to. We have a fair collection of very old wood and metal type but have access to thousands of fonts to help you to create the design you want. We have eco friendly photopolymer plates made for these types of designs, if you want the plates when we’re finished just ask.
Smallest Font Size
It’s hard to say what the smallest font size is because it all depends on the font. As we often have plates made for our letterpress printing we can use really small point sizes and add a small stroke without it affecting the print. For example a 6pt gill will print fine by itself without any outside help but a 6pt garamond will have fine areas of the text which will need to be made a little thicker. This helps to create a deeper neck/beard on the plate and won’t affect the print quality. We recommend making sure that the finest part of your design is no thinner that 0.25pt.
How to Supply
All fonts need to be outlined, this is just in case we don’t have themon our system, if you think that there may be changes to be made you can send us the artwork file without outlining the fonts but you will also have to send us a copy of the font to install on our system. If you need help outlining your fonts please get in touch, it generally means converting them to a vector.
Sometimes your design will call for text, or other items of the design to be reversed out of the solid, we recommend applying a stroke to these fonts to make them bigger or bolder if another natural alternative isnt available. When we print your item letterpress or with hot foil some filling in can occur on these parts of the design.
Hot Foil Printing
We have been hot foil printing almost as long as we have been printing letterpress.
Hot Foil printing can give a similar impression to a deep letterpress impression but with the added bonus of some shine.
For the smaller work we use our Marshall table top foilers but when we need something bigger or for large runs we use our Heidelberg Platens.
Hot foil uses magnesium or brass plates which are heated to high temperatures, when used with a special foil we get a lovely shiny finish to our work.
We can use both process on the same print if you wuld like, you could have text printed letterpress with some area of the design hot foil printed. Please get in touch to see what colours we can offer to you for hot foil printing, there are lots and if we cannot get you an exact match we will be able to get you something very similar.
As with letterpress printing we can hot foil on both sides of your design.