Letterpress printing might have hundreds of years of history attached to it, but making it these days involves the use of some quite modern technology. At Peppermint Press, we appreciate how this timeless technique offers us the opportunity to create traditional, beautiful wedding and event stationery. In this article, we discuss the processes that make letterpress printing an authentic and excellent choice.

Letterpress printing – What is it?

Invented way back in the 15th century by Johannes Gutenberg, the techniques behind letterpress printing have, understandably, changed quite a lot since then. No longer is movable type, the standard-bearer for centuries, used. Instead, light-sensitive photopolymer plates allow for complete designs to be produced in one go.

Set Type for LetterpressType setting like the above pieces are rarely used today in favour of photopolymer plates.

First, however, the letterpress design is created using a program such as InDesign. The composition itself needs to be coloured white, while the rest of the design must be black. Once the digital design is ready, it is transferred to a photo negative, which is then placed on the photosensitive side of a polymer plate.

Unexposed Polymer PlateUnexposed Photopolymer plate pieces. Image via Boxcar Press

The plate is then exposed to UV light in a controlled unit, hardening the exposed areas while leaving the rest soft and flexible. It’s then washed with water to remove the unneeded plate material. The plate is then dried to get it ready for use.

One thing to note about letterpress printing is that since the design is transferred onto a polymer plate, it is static and cannot be personalised for the guest by adding their name to the invitation, as a new plate would need to be produced for every invitation.

Exposed Photopolymer Plate
An example of an exposed polymer plate. Image via Whit Print

Benefits of letterpress printing

With its rich lineage, letterpress provides an authentic and sophisticated printing method perfectly suited to a wedding. The deep impression that it leaves on the paper attests to its human creation, and gives it a tactile quality that showcases a high level of care.

If you’re looking for a printing style steeped in tradition, then letterpress should be your first choice.

Giving back to the environment

One Product, One Tree

Though letterpress printing might be traditional, Peppermint Press is thoroughly modern when it comes to our awareness of our works impact on the environment. Our One Product, One Tree promise means that any product you order will be giving back to the natural world through the selective planting of trees. This way, you can enjoy luxury in a meaningful and environmentally friendly way, even if you simply order a sample pack. Speaking of which…

Enjoy our work first-hand

For something as tactile as letterpress printing, it’s not enough to just read about it online. To get started, we really recommend that you order a sample pack so that you can truly feel and experience the high quality of our amazing collections for yourself.

We look forward to working with you on your event. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email or live chat.