On this page you will find answers to many of the commonly asked questions associated with the letterpress process. Should you require any further information please don't hesitate to get in touch via my contact page and I'll do my very best to answer any queries you may have. Full artwork guidelines can be found here.
ORDERING, DESIGN & ARTWORk
How do I start the process?
Simply get in touch via my contact page or email directly, outlining the nature of your enquiry.
In order to provide you with an estimate, I will first require a range of details from you, including: the quantity of items required, what size you are looking for, an idea of paper stock and the number of colours and sides you would like printed. If you have an example of the artwork, even better. I will then be able to check it's suitability to the letterpress process.
Once I have received your details I will get back to you as soon as I can with an estimate.
Can you letterpress my own designs and artwork?
Yes. I frequently print client's own designs, and can print any artwork assuming it is compatible with the letterpress process (see acceptable file formats below). Full details on supplying artwork can be found here.
If I supply my own artwork am I restricted to the fonts you have available?
Not at all. Providing your artwork is supplied with all fonts outlined, you can use any of the fonts you have on your system.
How do I need to supply artwork?
In order to be compatible with the letterpress process, all artwork (including text layouts) will need to be supplied in vector format, with all fonts converted to outlines. I accept Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, PDF or EPS files only. For more complex designs involving 2 or more colours, I kindly request that artwork be supplied in layered files, in order to split these into separate plates for printing.
Full artwork guidelines can be found here.
Is there a recommended minimum line thickness for letterpress artwork?
Yes, fine lines can be problematic. Please ensure all lines have a minimum thickness of 0.35pt of a stroke, in order to minimise risk of line breakages during the plate making process.
Can you design for me?
Yes. I offer a full custom design service to which cost will very much depend on the complexity of the design required. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements and I will supply you with a price estimate accordingly.
Do you have a minimum/maximum order quantity?
I have no minimum order, but a maximum of 500 items per run. *Please be aware that unit costs can increase dramatically with small orders, due to the cost of plates and setup time. I recommend giving careful consideration to the quantity required prior to ordering as reprints can be costly.
PROOFS & SAMPLES
Can I order a sample?
Absolutely. I offer a carefully selected range of papers in house, specifically chosen for their suitability to letterpress which I am very happy to send samples free of charge. Samples are a means to see the quality of the materials and print finish.
If you have a specific paper stock in mind please let me know and I will do my best to source this for you.
Can I see a hard copy before going to print?
Regretfully, due to the nature of the process, I cannot send hard copies of letterpress items prior to order printing.
Once your design has been finalised, I will send you a plate ready PDF proof for your approval.
Will the colour of my stationery look like it does on my computer screen?
Not necessarily. Due to variations in monitor calibration, colours can appear different to their appearance in print. For this reason, I prefer to match my colours to the Uncoated Pantone Matching System (UPMS) for accuracy.
PRINTING & FINISHING
What is the difference between 'embossing' and 'debossing'?
'Debossing' is another term for impression printing which uses applied force when printing to gently sculpt an impression into the surface of the paper. 'Blind' debossing refers to the same process but without ink.
'Embossing' uses male and female dies to mould a raised design out of the paper. Please note, I do not currently offer embossing at this time.
What type of press do you use?
All of my work is printed on a recently restored antique Arab Crown Folio 10x15'' Platen press, dating to c.1897.
What size can you print up to?
The maximum area I prefer to print is approx A5 size. Any larger than this and the level of impression achievable will soon be compromised.
It is possible to print onto larger sheet sizes up to A4, but this will depend on the artwork layout.
How does single and double sided printing compare?
Single sided printing is the most straight forward of the two, allowing for a luxuriously deep and tactile impression.
With all double sided matter, it is general practice to back off the pressure when printing to avoid the risk of 'show through' or 'bruising', resulting in a flatter more subtle impression.
Will printing more than one colour affect the cost?
Yes. Each separate layer of colour (including blind debossing) will require another plate, set up and run through the press. Prices therefore reflect how many runs through the press the job will require.
How do you match/mix your colours?
All colours are mixed by hand to order, and matched to the Uncoated Pantone Matching System (UPMS) or a physical swatch sample if easier. Please note, I am unable to match inks to RGB or CMYK colours as on-screen versions of Pantone colours are not 100% accurate representations.
Do light ink colours work well on darker paper stocks?
No. Letterpress inks tend to be fairly translucent and so problems can arise when printing light colours onto dark papers. Ink will tend to appear patchy, rather than solid and opaque. For best results I would recommend Hot foiling.
Are you able to print with metallic inks?
Yes. Metallic inks work well when printed onto dark coloured papers. However, it is worth noting that when printed onto lighter papers, inks will appear slightly duller giving more of a 'rustic' look. If you require a bright and shiny finish, I would recommend Hot foiling as a more suitable option.
Do you offer Hot Foiling?
Do you offer Edge Painting?
Yes. If you require further information on this, please ask for details.
Can you edge paint cards that I have had printed elsewhere?
No. I only offer edge painting for cards or invitations that I have print myself.
Can you print tonal images/photographs?
Yes. In order to do so all artwork will first need to be converted to a half-toned image. I will be able to advise you on this once I have seen your artwork.
Do you offer digital printing?
Are you able to letterpress print onto digitally printed items?
Letterpress and digital printing are two very different processes with their own unique intricacies and characteristics. Mixing the two is not something I would generally recommend and prefer not to do.
LEAD TIMES, PAYMENT & SHIPPING
What are your turn around times for printing?
Once your artwork has been approved, my lead times, for print jobs only, average between 2-4 weeks. Custom design jobs will take a little longer, averaging between 5-7 weeks. *Please note timings may vary depending on the complexity of each commission and on other orders going through at that time.
How do I make payment for my order?
A 50% deposit will be required prior to commencing any design/print work on commissions with the full balance due on completion, prior to shipping. Payment is preferred via direct bank transfer, details of which will be outlined on your invoice.
Do you ship outside of the UK?
Yes, I can print orders to ship worldwide.
What are your shipping costs for letterpress items?
Shipping costs vary depending on the size, weight and destination of the parcel. For UK orders parcels will be sent via Royal Mail First Class or Next Day Special Delivery. I can provide you with a cost estimate on confirmation of order.