Certain designs print better with letterpress than others. Here a few tips to keep in mind when designing for letterpress:
Please make sure that all rules, lines and type are .35pt or thicker. Also, make sure that all dots, commas, and dots over ‘i’s are 1 pt to 1.25pt in diameter minimum. We recommend using type no smaller than 8 points
Printing a light colour on dark paper
Printing light ink on a dark background is not suited for letterpress printing. With letterpress, we tend to print dark ink on light paper, because that is letterpress printing’s strength! Due to the fact that we use translucent inks there will be a show through to the dark colour background. We can always send the job through the press twice to increase the opacity of the ink, but we cannot guarantee that there will be no show through, and there are costs associated with running jobs through the press twice.
We print with uncoated Pantone colours. Please bear in mind that colours on your computer screen will be slightly different to those printed on paper.
We generally print with 1 or 2 colours, but can easily ‘create’ a third colour by overlapping two colours, as we print with transparent ink. The more colours we print, the higher the cost, as we need to get a plate made up per colour, and we print the colours individually, so there are associated set up and print fees per colour.
We have our own tried and tested papers which we like to print on. Cotton rich paper lends itself to letterpress printing. If you have a paper in mind, we are happy to give it a try, but cannot guarantee the outcome.
We are happy to print samples for sign off prior to beginning printing, but please bear in mind that this is costly, as it involves the cost of the make up of the plates, the ordering in of the ink, and a set up fee.
We usually will send a pdf for sign off. It is important for the client to print this pdf out to scale to check that he/ she is happy with all font sizes.
If you have a sample of work which you would like us to match, please send a sample through.
Large solid areas of colour
If you are after an even, solid area of colour, then letterpress is probably not the way to go, as it is tricky to apply even pressure across a large area. Solids will appear splotchy.
Large printed areas will not have much impression, and may cause the paper to buckle if too much impression is applied. Please send through a design that you have in mind, and we will be happy to advise on whether we think it will print well.
We can control the depth of impression to a certain degree, but the amount of impression achievable is directly related to two factors: design and paper. Some designs will not indent well. For instance, large solid areas are hard to indent, while lines and linear patterns lend themselves to the process easier. Cotton rich paper is very soft and pliable and will therefore give the best result, however these papers are more expensive.
Deep impressions will show through to the back of any sheet of paper. If your layout is two-sided, keep this mind and offset the front and back elements, so that they are not directly opposite each other.
You can also opt for duplexing, - where we mount two sheets together. This way both sheets can be deeply impressed and there will be no show-through. Another option is to alter your design to be single sided, or print on a much thicker paper to avoid any show through to the other side.
The largest size sheet we can run through our press is 25 x 32mm.
We like to receive artwork in a VECTOR pdf format with all fonts expanded.
Show the final trim size either by using a 1 point 100% black border or by setting the document size to the trim size.
Die cuts should be clearly indicated by a 1 point 100% magenta line
If you’re using a bleed, extend your artwork at least 2cm past the trim.
No continuous tone
As you design for letterpress, think about each layer/colour as being created using only black ink. Each colour of your final design must be made into its own plate and the plate files can only contain black and white. If you want to create tone or shading, you’ll need to add a halftone.