Why is Letterpress Worth It?

When you are searching around the internet for the perfect paper goods, you are met with a seemingly endless sea of options-- weights, types of printing, fonts, color schemes, and design elements coming at you from all sides. It can be completely overwhelming and hard to navigate.

As a designer and letterpress printer,  stationery is my bread and butter. I fully believe that quality paper goods are one of the best ways to tell your unique story to the world. There are a whole lot of options to choose from out there and I’d love to tell you why I think letterpress is a worthwhile investment for your wedding or small business.

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If you are just wanting to get the point across, to simply transfer practical information to someone, there are huge websites that offer laser and digital printing on anything from menus to stickers for next to nothing. If this describes your need, to be perfectly transparent, letterpress probably isn’t for you. But if you are the couple or small business owner who believes that the love is in the details and that quality and intentionality is part of the beauty of life, you want something more. After all this is your wedding stationery, your business cards, your personal gesture to your guests and clients.

 

What is letterpress?

Before we dive into the reasons that I believe letterpress is worth it (and believe me, this is the abridged list) I thought I would take a second to quickly explain what letterpress is.

Letterpress printing developed as an early form of mass producing text. It’s origins date back to the fifteenth century. A whole lot has changed with the machinery through the years, especially during industrialization, but the general process has remained the same. Individually cast letters, made of metal or wood, are arranged into a frame, called a chase, covered in ink, and pressed into paper.

The result is an inked-in depression in the surface of the paper and it is this tactile quality which  makes letterpress so highly sought after. The effect is not something that you can’t replicate through any other technique. The processes of setting type, hand-mixing ink, and preparing to print are incredibly meticulous, but I have found them to be therapeutic in a way-- putting together the pieces, locking them into place, the rhythmic mechanical sound of the machine and printer at work.

Here’s a short video that beautifully explains the process of letterpress printing.

In my studio, I have joined classic techniques with modern designs. Though I was trained in the traditional process of hand-setting type as you see in the short film, these days I more commonly use custom-made copper plates on my press, created from the designs that I create digitally. I love to include little hand-drawn illustrations in my work and commissioning custom metal plates helps me to achieve this aesthetic. Though the letterpress process looks a little different in the modern age, I love that I get to pay tribute to this five hundred year old technique with every pull of the lever.

 

Weddings and Events

Bespoke Decoration

I believe in simple elements that create a big impact. Something as uncomplicated as a classic letterpressed menu at each place setting helps create a rich experience for your guests. Quality paper goods serve the dual purpose of presenting information and complementing the decor. Weeks, sometimes months, of work go into each set of made-to-order letterpress pieces and this level of detail does not go unnoticed.

Token of Appreciation

From the time your guests receive their save the date in the mail, they are presented with an impression of things to come. Your wedding day is about you and your fiance of course, but it is also a celebration of the people who have contributed to the people you have become. A gesture of hospitality shown through the little details lets your guests know that you are thankful that they are there and that everything is taken care of.

Precious Keepsake

The flowers wither and the cake is eaten, your guests go home, and you settle into your new adventure of marriage. I am not the most sentimental person in the world, but I think there is something to be said about mementos that can tie you to a moment and ignite memories of a time and place. Letterpress pieces can stand the test of time, serving as little treasures from a very special season of life.

 

Small Businesses

Lasting Impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression. Investing now in high quality and intentionally designed business collateral can result in a big pay off later when a client decides to entrust their project to you. Leaving a lasting impression can lead to the creation of a loyal customer base that keep coming back for more.

Unparallelled Customer Experience

As small business owners, we are always seeking to provide a uniquely rich customer experience every time they use our services or buy our goods. You know the companies that are good at this. You open the box, undo a ribbon, and neatly part the tissue paper to reveal the product. They could have just tossed it in a box and dumped it into the mail and technically, the product would be the same, but there is something priceless about curating an elegant and cohesive customer experience which leaves them feeling treasured.

Quality Assurance

Presenting your brand with luxurious and beautiful paper goods shows you care about quality in all facets of your business. If you care enough about commissioning beautiful business cards or branded stationery, then just imagine the consideration and intention that you will put into your work. I recently was told about a piece of Chinese business etiquette and I love it.  In China, a business card is passed with both hands to the recipient, who then receives it with both hands as a sign of respect.

 

Are you interested in pursuing letterpress printing for your wedding or business? I am an open book and would love to talk your ear off about it! Contact me here.