I Heart Letterpress

Last week I visited Lumino Press, a letterpress and book arts studio here in Santa Barbara. In the last 10-15 years letterpress has made a come-back in the world of printing, particularly with wedding invitations. You may be familiar with the lovely work of a letterpress--the crisp type pressed into a toothy paper, the results are oh-so-handsomely tactile. While letterpress is a more costly option for printing, I find the visual and tactile results well worth the splurge.

Letterpress printing is a term for the 'relief' printing of text and image using a press with a "type-high bed", in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image. Historically, movable, metal (or wood) type was used to press words into paper. Although metal and wood type are still used today, text and graphic elements can be created digitally on computers and transferred to paper using photopolymer plates and metal engravings. I was lucky enough to have a letterpress lab in college, where we had an extensive library of metal and wood typefaces. I learned about the process and the traditional ways to set type, as well as the history of type terminology that we use today.

I'm currently working on a wedding invitation suite that we will have letterpressed and it makes me so happy! I'll be sure to keep you posted on the final design. Letterpress is a great way to print a very simple piece because it adds dimension and tactility. When I hold a letterpressed paper good in my hands, I find myself running my fingers over the crisp depression of the type, studying the ink and admiring the paper. (I'm often salivating, too!) Can you tell I'm obsessed?! I love these letterpressed wedding invitations below from Pancake & Franks.

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