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Letter printing in the modern era

By July 7, 2022News

Letterpress printing is the OG of modern printing. In fact, if you were talking about it back in the early days it would simply have been referred to as ‘printing,’ as it was the main option. Letterpress printing remained the best printing choice for 500 years until the technology behind modern lithograph offset printing was developed. So, letter printing has a long and rich history – but it’s also very relevant today. As tools and techniques have evolved, letterpress printing now offers a range of appealing advantages for creativity and design in the modern era.

How is letter printing different today?

Well, the tools are very different for a start – for example, we’ve moved away from hand-set wood and metal type, and letterpress printing today uses photopolymer plates. Integration with computer systems now means it’s much easier to make use of letter printing and the range of fonts, embellishments, and designs that can be created with it is very broad. If you’re looking for small product runs and that attractive, tactile high-quality finish then it’s likely that letter printing will be for you.

One thing hasn’t changed…

While letterpress printing has evolved significantly for the modern era, one thing hasn’t changed and that’s the fact that this type of printing is still done by hand. However, it’s a much less laborious system than it used to be in the early days of letterpress printing, especially because all the tools for it are much easier to access. It works like this:

  • The first step is the creation of the magnesium top plate, which is where a digital design is printed onto film as a negative and then UV light is used to expose it to a photo-sensitive metal. This is chemically etched in acid to expose the design, our expert team then will finish with hand tools and mount to wood to produce a product that is type-height, 0.918”(23.32mm)
  • After this the plates are secured into the press on a machine metal base and ink is applied to the raised surface.
  • Printing begins and pressure is applied to the inked design so that the design comes out clearly on the finished product. Letter printing creates a debossed effect – one of the reasons it’s so appealing – and the more pressure that is applied the greater this effect will be.
  • The final product is then cut to size.

Why choose letter printing in the modern era?

If you’re looking for a high quality, tactile finish then letterpress printing is hard to beat. It’s ideal if you’re seeking fine type and line work and want to convey a specific design in a unique way that will be both eye-catching and have that appeal that makes people want to pick the item up. Letterpress printing is versatile and easy to tailor to colours and designs, a great way to get creative whether it’s for business or personal purposes.

Letterpress printing has evolved significantly for the modern age – it’s now a much more tech-advanced process but still delivers on that classic quality and tactile end result, every time.