Posted 13.12.17

Published by Simon in the Techniques category

Letterpress Printing

Letterpress printing is an old craft skill technique, which dates back to the mid-15th century, it's making a come back and this is why.

Let’s talk business cards, something quite simple, yet so many people get it wrong and miss the point. We hand them out face to face, a first introduction, a statement of you and the company you keep. Yet, we see it so many times, people apologising as they hand you their card, making excuses for the design and quality. Not a good start.

With the ever-increasing demand for short run (cheap) business cards where 300gsm matt laminated cards has become the norm, I can’t help feel that we’ve somehow missed the point and purpose of a business card, have we all just become a bit average? The alternative is far more exciting, something special, something considered, something tactile, a quality piece of print that starts a conversation, instead of an apology.

Letterpress printing is an old craft skill technique, which dates back to the mid-15th century, a process of relief printing (emboss or deboss) using metal or wooden type. Typically you can print on specialist papers using duplex boards (2 sheets of paper gummed together) taking the weight up to a heavy duty 720gsm.

Other advantages of letterpress printing is that there’s an aray of different finishing techniques that help make an ordinary piece of print something special.

Blind emboss

A method of creating raised logos or typography on paper without ink. In this process two metal die cuts are used; one with raised logo or type and another with matching but recessed area. When a sheet of paper is pressed between these two dies, blind embossing occurs.

Die Cutting

Die Cutting is the most conventional method of shape cutting. Instead of printing, the sheet is die cut using a flat bed tool formed to the desired shape. Internal as well as external shapes are possible. Die cutting shape are also used on packaging to cut out the final shapes


A duplex is the pasting together of two sheets of paper, making one thicker sheet in the end. An example – two 250gsm sheets pasting together to provide a 500gsm final thickness. the other advantages of using duplex is that you can have different coloured stocks, so one side can be white the other a coloured board.

Edge Printing

Edge printing really adds to the impact, it’s a feature that’s often overlooked, but the impact can make all the difference. You can apply any colour (including metallic and fluorescent inks) to all four edges of a business card.


A process of creating a recessed relief logos or characters. An embossed pattern is raised against the background board. This process is very tactile and used in the right way can have the desired effect.

Hot foil

Hot foil or foil stamping is a foil application of metallic or pigmented foil on a solid surface of application of a heated die onto foil, making it permanently adhere to the surface. Typically foiling is used on wedding invitations and common colours used are metallic silver and gold. If used in the right way and using colours that are not often used (like whites) then this can have a lot of impact.

Crafted Packaging

Letterpress packaging, with hot foil and embossed combined with a die kiss cut can be very effective and create a beautiful quality label that feels hand crafted, adding value to the product.


Triplex is 2 boards or card sandwiched between a centre board, again this can be adjusted to give a final weight of around 500-700gsm An effective use of triplex is two white boards with a black board in the middle, giving you a sharp black edge all the way around the centre outer edge.


A printing technique in which a wet ink image is fused by heat or infrared radiation with a resinous powder to produce a raised impression.

So if you want to stop being average and want to discuss some lovely tactile print work then please talk to us

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