Letterpress Questions

What kind of ink do you use? Can you match Pantone colors?
We print using rubber based ink which tends to be somewhat transparent. All ink colors are mixed by hand using the Pantone uncoated formulas. This means that an exact match is not guaranteed, but it will be very close! Keep in mind that different paper stocks will affect color in different ways.

Do you have metallic ink? Neon?
We offer both gold and silver ink options as well as neon colors upon request. These are oil based inks so they tend to be more opaque than other colors. Please note that once printed on uncoated stock, most of the shine will be absorbed into the paper. If a true metallic gloss is desired, I would recommend hot foil printing (which we currently do not offer).

What paper do you use?
The most popular letterpress paper is 100% cotton Crane Lettra. We keep this stocked in both 110# as well as the super thick 220# options. These come in a bright florescent or soft pearl white. Other paper is available upon request so please let me know if you would like additional options.

What is a blind impression?
A blind impression is a print without ink, so all you see is the debossed image of the design. This uses the same process as regular inked printing, so it is still priced as a color even though there is no ink.

Can you print light ink on dark paper?
That all depends on the look you are going for. As mentioned earlier, rubber based ink is somewhat transparent, so a light color will appear much darker when printed on dark stock – almost like a shadow.

How small can you print?
Tiny detail can be tough to hold to a plastic plate. Thin lines and small dots (punctuation) can often fall away if they are too small or standing alone. I always analyze each design before creating a plate and will let you know if any changes are necessary.

How large can you print?
In most cases, the largest sheet size is 9″x12″ with a printable area of 8″x10″. This will depend on the artwork itself and how much surface area will be covered.

An important note about solid surface area or full flood printing:
Whenever printing a large area image, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First of all, letterpress is not ideal for this style or printing, and here’s why:

  • Ink coverage is difficult to control, especially with dark ink colors. Achieving 100% coverage requires additional passes on the press which is more time consuming and will be reflected in pricing.
  • The image is likely to appear “salty” which basically means you will see some of the paper color/texture showing through the ink.
  • There will likely be noticeable ink variation from one print to another. Some will be darker and some will be lighter depending on the exact amount of ink on press at the time of impression. This is also difficult to control.
  • The depth of impression will be much less than that of an image with less surface area. The force of the press is distributed over more space which lessens the impression.

This isn’t to say full coverage is impossible, but please note that there are several factors to consider and it’s important to have realistic expectations.

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