What is letterpress?
Letterpress printing is old technology - Johannes Gutenberg and the 15th Century old. Put simply, a raised surface is inked and pressed against a sheet of paper, one color at a time, one side at a time. Thanks to new technology and the early geniuses who invented such versatile and robust machines, it’s also a pretty modern affair. Your project can be realized through our collection of “movable” antique wood & lead type, vintage image cuts / custom linocuts, or we can convert your digitized artwork to photopolymer plates to maintain your specified fonts and imagery.
These days, we tend to take advantage of the mechanical / physical nature of letterpress in order to get a deep, sculptural impression in the paper that begs be to touched. This textural quality is often what grabs people when they see a letterpress print, and it’s just not possible with digital or offset printing. You don’t always have to smash paper, by the way; a light “kiss“ impression like the old-timers used can yield a nice print with lots of character and variation through the run.
Why Revival Letterpress?
Letterpress printing is a craft – it requires knowledge, skill, and someone who cares. I’ve been working with ink, paper, and design since 2006. I have extensive understanding of the production process and I’m a stickler for details and fine workmanship. I partner with my clients throughout the creative process and strive to exceed their expectations from start to finish. The old adage is true – if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right - and this idea permeates every aspect of each job I take on. While the nature of this type of work can lead to higher expense than modern alternatives like digital or offset printing, I believe that letterpress printing should be accessible to those who appreciate it. I aim to keep costs down with reasonable rates, flexibility, and low overheads.
What kinds of work do you do?
All kinds. The two presses I run can handle everything from a business card to 14” x 24” sheet size. The most commonly printed items include show posters, business cards, event and wedding stationary, gift certificates, hang tags, signage, and ‘one-off’ custom prints. If you’re looking to get something letterpress printed, I can probably do it. Print runs can easily range from 1 to 15,000.
What type of art works best with letterpress?
Type and line work are ideal for letterpress, and they make the most effective use of a heavy impression. Large, solid areas can be printed as well, although this will result in a somewhat mottled appearance with a reduced impression. I always encourage clients to share their artwork early in the design process to keep things running smoothly and to catch anything that might be problematic on press. Photopolymer plates or magnesium etchings can be made from computer-based designs, or wood / metal type from the collection can be hand-set and paired with custom linoleum or woodcut images.
How much does it cost?
Since every project is custom, there isn’t a set pricing schedule. Every job has its own specifications and requirements which work to determine cost. Some of the factors to consider include quantities, inks, papers, bindery, and assembly. This is a hand-fed, one-color-at-a-time operation, and the result is a premium-quality product. Naturally, the more complex and time-consuming the project is, the more it will cost. I am happy to provide you with a quote and will gladly work to a budget if you know what you’re looking to spend.
What is your turnaround time?
The average turnaround is 7-10 business days, but rush service is available within a 3-5 day window. Material orders may add to the timeline but I do keep a variety of paper stocks in-house for tight deadlines. Please inquire when specifying your job and contact me as early as possible when you know the project is time-sensitive.
Can I press check my project?
Certainly. Working closely with clients is one of the best ways to achieve a happy result. Offering press checks is also a way to give clients a more hands-on role in the process. Press checks allow for quick, on-the-spot adjustments to color and impression strength to suit your personal preferences.
Is letterpress environmentally friendly?
Inherently, yes. The machines are truly built to last and the hand type in the shop contains pieces that are probably close to 100 years old. The papers I favor are 100% tree-free, archival cotton rag or 100% recycled paper produced in a mill powered completely by its own hydroelectric generators. Both of these manufacturers are family-owned and located in the USA. Letterpress generally uses very little ink and my wash-up solvents are low-VOC. Paper scrap is saved for small projects or recycled. I try to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible because it’s good to the earth and to the bottom line.
Can I visit the shop?
Of course. Friendly and curious visitors are always welcome, especially those with delicious baked goods.