Hell yes we do custom letterpress printing! Not that we’re biased or anything but the beauty and tactility of letterpress can elevate the simplest design, creating a fantastic first impression (letterpress joke) and a piece to be savored.* Whether you need to print business cards and collateral, wedding invitations, social stationery, packaging, or promotional items, we’d love to talk about your project and see how letterpress can work for you.
Read on for some preliminary info on our capabilities, the glories and limitations of letterpress, and the process of printing a custom job.
*Please don’t try to actually eat your finished piece, you weirdo.
Letterpress inks are a bit transparent, which means a few things that all pretty much boil down to: the color of the paper will interact with and affect the color of the ink.
Large areas of solid color will have texture and variance. This can be used intentionally to beautiful effect! Just be aware that we’re not going to achieve a dense, even ink coverage over solid areas.
Printing light ink on dark paper is possible, but might not produce your intended results—though personally we love a good tone-on-tone dark print. Metallic inks are a bit more opaque and can be lovely on dark paper; they’ll have a subtle shimmer not a highly metallic shine (aka it’s not foil).
Our house stocks are 100% cotton (tree-free, baby) and take a nice deep impression. We can print on a pretty wide variety of paper, and are always happy to make a recommendation. Want a custom duplex? Hell yes, let’s do it. Don’t ask us to print on fabric though, it’s annoying to do and we’ll like you 20% less after.
Keep in mind that each color requires its own plate & run through the press. So if you’ve got 2 colors on the front and 1 on the back (2/1), that’s 3 plates and 3 runs.
Lines need to be at least .35pt (about .005”). This includes lines in your text, so maybe don’t use a very thin or super contrasty typeface set at 6 pts. Anything smaller than .35pt risks either getting lost in the platemaking process or being squashed by the mighty power of Petunia during printing. We review all files, but try not to make us change your art for you.
If you provide us color-separated, font-outlined, vector-based files, you’re our new favorite client.
We’re mixing ink by hand, printing on a century old machine, and manually feeding each piece into the press. Variations across a run are normal, to be expected, and part of the beauty of letterpress.
Talk it Out
Send us an email or request a quote, with as much detail as possible about the job. If you have a file to send us (rough is fine!), even better. We’ll ask you a bunch of annoying questions to get our brains wrapped around the scope and requirements.
Iron out the details
We’ll pick out paper, decide on ink, talk quantities, figure out any finishing, and send you a quote.
Cross the ts, Dot the is, Pay the money
Once the details are settled, we’ll send you a digital proof to approve and an invoice for a 50% deposit. Double check all your spelling please. Check it again. Have your roommate check it. Approve the proof, pay the deposit, then it's...
Turnaround is about 2 weeks, unless it’s a super complex job or we’re swamped. If it’s going to predictably be longer, we’ll let you know up front. If the unpredictable happens (Petunia breaks, my leg breaks, the studio catches fire, plague, locusts, etc), we will give you a heads up, in between panic attacks.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
When your job is ready to ship, we’ll contact you for payment of the balance + shipping. Most things will ship via USPS or UPS ground. Then tell all your friends who printed your beautiful business cards/invitations/ransom notes and post it on the internets.
If you’re just starting a project, we’d be thrilled to work with you on the full design of your printed pieces to make sure they’re optimized for letterpress printing. If you need more robust design services, our sister company Byrne Branding & Design offers everything from logo and brand design, web design, and more.