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The Subtlety of Letterpress Wedding Stationery

The emergence of letterpress wedding stationery, letterpress save-the-date cards, baby announcements and letterpress stationery within the last ten years isn’t unexpected. Affordable second-hand letterpress printing presses have made way for a lot of talented designers and artisans to indulge their creativeness to make beautiful invitations and stationery making use of this centuries-old printing technique.

Like the printing process utilized in engraving, letterpress uses polymer or metal dies to “press” ink into malleable papers, mainly cotton. Each and every color is applied with a individual printing press run, which demands persistence and appreciable skill to have the close registration required to accurately align colors and design images.

Each May for the National Stationery Show in New York City, new letterpress firms take center stage to market their new designs. While letterpress was regarded as somewhat of a novelty some 5 to 10 years ago, most of the new letterpress printers and designers simply do not have the good taste, creativity and, in many cases, the ability and experience to create eye-catching letterpress stationery. In fact, most “new” designs offer little that is completely new. To be honest, the stationery marketplace is saturated with letterpress.

Letterpress printers with deep traditions in the craft, including Julie Holcomb, Elum, Oblation, Press New York, Page and Real Card Studio still build on their craft and their firm hand and love for the craft continues to set the standard for letterpress printing.

While a few letterpress printers now sell on the internet, nearly all letterpress artisans promote their invitations by using skilled retailers across the United States. In the words of pioneer Julie Holcomb, “If you are like most people, you have never ordered any kind of custom printing prior to ordering your wedding invitations. You can benefit a great deal from the experience of your local stationer, who orders all kinds of custom printing, from many vendors, all the time. They’ll help you make sure you’re covering all the bases and making decisions you’ll be happy with for a long time.”

Julie’s advice is well worth following. If you have your heart set on letterpress for your wedding invitations, it is prudent to consult a professional stationer in your neighborhood.

Richard W. May is an owner of Therese Saint Clair, a stationery store located in Greenwich, CT. He frequently writes about engraved business stationery and custom wedding invitations.

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