Letterpress Invitations….reviving a fine art

My Mom always used to say ” what goes around , comes around.”  And that saying still holds true. I recently rummaged through my old college portfolios to look at  pages I had printed using the letterpress technique.  I still have an  obsolete tool  called a type stick which I  used  in one  of my first design classes at Carnegie-Mellon.  As a  graphic design major, I was required to learn to set hot metal type, and use a hand-operated printing press.  Today’s graduating  graphic designers have  probably never heard of  “hot metal type” or a ” type stick” because every aspect of the print industry is digital.   But a growing number of established printers and new start-up companies  have  refurbished and re-vitalized vintage printing presses to answer a growing demand for the letterpress technique. The deep impression and  subtle color variations give a letterpress piece a  beautiful, hand crafted quality.  The art of letterpress printing is seeing a revival, especially for wedding invitations, and I recently had the pleasure of designing an invitation for a wonderful couple getting married this fall.

The bride and groom are overseeing every detail of their wedding day and are carefully considering choices that reflect their concern for  the environment, their love of nature and their great respect for family traditions.  The ceremony will take place in a beautifully rennovated historic building and the invitation design reflects their appreciation for  fine craftsmanship and historic details.  The handmade 100% cotton paper is from Holyoke Press in Massachussets and the letterpress printing was  done by master printer John  Steurer at The Stationary Shop in Akron, Ohio. The  family owned printing company, which has been in business for over 60 years, is a pleasure to work with.  We were very lucky to work with Lori Ryder who helped coordinate all the details of the  project.  They graciously allowed us to proof the colors on the press and worked to adjust the impression of the metal  plates to  the right depth on the luxurious 130 pound paper stock. The result was a soft  textured printed piece  with subtle color variations that are not possible to achieve with regular digital printing or offset lithography.

I hope the bride and groom will be delighted with the results!

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