What is letterpress?

Letterpress printing was the main form of printing text and books up until the mid 1900's. The typesetter would hand set letter by letter and line by line to produce the page of text. Most of the old presses were put aside in favour of the offset press which was faster and more economical to produce prints. When computers and digital printing became commonplace letterpress became a dying art. Gradually, as handmade is becoming popular again, the old printing presses are being collected and restored. And with the invention of the raised surface photopolymer printing plates the possibilities for what can be created through letterpress are endless. From the digital design on the computer a printing plate is made. The plate is set up on the press which is operated by a foot treadle. Ink is rolled over the plate while a single sheet of paper is hand fed into the press, as the press closes it leaves a deep impression and ink on the paper. When the press opens again the paper is removed and the next sheet is fed in. Each colour has it's own printing plate and this process is repeated until all of the colours make up the finished design. My press is a beautifully restored (by a very talented press man, not me) Chandler & Price platen press built in Ohio, USA in the 1920's, weighing in at a whopping 700kg. Operating this press is truly a labour of love!


How much do letterpress invitations cost?

There are so many different variables with letterpress that can change the cost of the overall finished product. Things to consider are the number of colours in the design as each colour requires it's own printing plate and set up. The paper stock the invitations are printed on and how many different items you would like, eg. save the dates, invitations, rsvp card, wedding details card, thank you cards etc. With the main cost being the set up, the larger the quantity, the cheaper the unit price becomes. If you have a specific budget in mind, please let me know as there are many different ways to create something special within your budget.


How soon do I need to book in my invitations?

I like to allow about 12 weeks from initial consultation to delivery of your invitations. The best thing to do it work back from your wedding day, decide when you would like to send out your invitations and get in touch with me about 3 months before that. If you are wanting to send out Save the Dates these could be designed and printed earlier and the invitations can follow later on.


Do you have ready-made designs?

No, all invitations are custom custom designed to reflect you and your wedding style. But I understand that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming when you are starting from scratch. With this in mind I am in the process of designing a collection of semi-customisable wedding stationery items which will be available to order online soon.


Is there a minimum amount?

Due to the cost of the printing plates and the time it takes to set up your invitations on the press it is not economical to print very small runs. The minimum order for each letterpress suite is 40. Quotes can be provided for different quantities, please make sure you order enough invitations as it is not possible to print a few extras if you are short.

What paper do you use?

The majority of invitations are printed on lovely fluffy 100% cotton paper which comes in 2 weights, a 300gsm card and a heavy weight 600gsm card and comes in white. I also have a selection of coloured paper in various weights. If you have a specific colour pallet in mind for your wedding let me know and I can source different options and samples.


How many colours can I have?

As each ink colour in the letterpress process is mixed by hand and printed individually, the more colours you have the more the cost. Most invitations are one or 2 colours but you can have more if you are after something more colourful. Invitations that are printed with a blind deboss (printed impression with no ink colour) is considered a colour as it requires it's own printing plate and set up.


What items can you print?

Anything! Save the dates, invitations, rsvp card, wedding details card, custom maps for venue directions, envelopes, order of service, menus, place cards, table numbers, thankyou cards . . .  If you have any other ideas of what you would like please let me know, I love a challenge!


Can the invitations be personalised with our guests names?

Unfortunately they can't as each name would require it's own printing plate and set up on the press which is just not feasable. There are other options to personalise such as a digitally printed belly band with the guests names around the invitations or custom envelopes with guests names and addresses digitally printed on the front. You could also employ the services of a talented calligrapher to personally address your envelopes for you.


I am a graphic designer, can I supply my own design?

Yes, I would love to bring your design to life, please get in touch and I can let you know how the digital files need to be set up for letterpress.


Can I book an appointment with you?

I am based just out of Tauranga and would love to meet you to discuss your invitations. Please get in touch and we can work out a time that suits to meet up. Alternatively we can also work together over the phone and email so it doesn't matter if you are in another town or even another country!


Help, I have more questions!

No problem, please get in touch via email or give me a call.