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How our Letterpress Cotton Business Cards are produced

Posted by Peter Saunders on Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cotton card stock is ideal for letterpress business cards due to both it soft texture and thickness. Ink and foil can be gently embedded into the card stock creating the debossed printing effect which is unique to letterpress printing.

How the letterpress printing process works

Letterpress plates, usually made of either polymer or magnesium, are created from your supplied artwork. Each colour is separated and has its own plate manufactured. This is where letterpress differs to most modern printing methods. During letterpress each colour is printed separately, which means the more colours your design features, the more expensive it will be to produce. With modern printing allowing full colour reproduction the number of colours used in a design is often something designers don't need to consider. Since letterpress is a vintage printing method the number of colours used is an important consideration. Once the colours are separated out and the plates have been made the first plate is loaded into the letterpress. The ink colour is then hand mixed to match a pantone colour or a supplied colour swatch. Once mixed the ink is added to the inking disc. High definition rubber rollers are then used to collect the ink from the disc and apply it to the printing plate. The plate is then gently pressed into the card stock transferring the ink and creating a nice deep debossed impression in the card at the same time.

Designing the perfect letterpress business card

Vector artwork files also always create the best end result. High resolution (1200dpi) jpegs can also be used, but when the letterpress plates are manufactured, jpegs can cause jagged edges which are noticeable during printing. Since letterpress business cards are more expensive to produce, we recommend using vector files for the highest quality finish.

When it comes to designing your letterpress business card it's best to keep the design simple. Letterpress business cards exude quality from the card stock and the style of printing, there is no need to fill every space or create an elaborate design. Keep in mind the more colours you use the more expensive your card will be to produce. Line art always works well. Thinner delicate designs will allow for a deeper debossed impression. Large solid areas will limit the debossed effect as well as causing issues with ink coverage consistency.
 
 


About the author

Peter Saunders is a multifacted graphic designer that has worked as a designer, printer and print finisher. All three jobs have given him an excellent understanding of everything involved in creating print marketing. At After Hours Creative, Peter splits his time between graphic design, getting his hands covered in ink, operating foil presses and taking naps on his adobe cushions (only when working late, he's not lazy!). Peter is the go-to guy for any artwork queries or anything related to print!

Peter Saunders is a multifacted graphic designer that has worked as a designer, printer and print finisher. All three jobs have given him an excellent understanding of everything involved in creating print marketing. At After Hours Creative, Peter splits his time between graphic design, getting his hands covered in ink, operating foil presses and taking naps on his adobe cushions (only when working late, he's not lazy!). Peter is the go-to guy for any artwork queries or anything related to print!

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