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A letterpress. Specifically, my letterpress.

 

Letterpress is a technique of relief printing. Ink is applied to a custom made polymer plate with raised letters or designs. The plate is fixed to the chase which is smashed together with the platen with enough force to crush all the bones in your hand. Instead of using your hand, you should put 100% cotton paper between the template and the platen to give you a nice bloodless impression in the paper.

Letterpress printing was invented in the mid-15th century by the the German blacksmith, goldsmith, publisher and printer Johannes Gutenberg (no relation to Steve Guttenberg). It was the normal form of printing text all the way through the 19th century, a span of over 500 years.

Each color must be applied separately in individual runs. For each color you see on a letterpress card, that card required that many runs in order to be made; similar to screen printing. For example, if you see three colors, that card was pressed three different times. Each time the card must be lined up perfectly with the proper amount of ink. Otherwise you’ll get something that looks like a drunk big foot wearing cleats walked all over it.

Why You Need Letterpress Cards?

Letterpress printing provides a upscale, custom style that will impress not only the person receiving the gift but also the paper (just a little letterpress joke for ya). With the takeover of digital printing in the late 20th and early 21th century, letterpress printing is a unique and beautiful alternative to mundane Hallmark cards that cost you an arm and a leg. Giving the gift of a hand-made quality letterpress card will make you stand out and be loved by all your friends*.

All you really need to know is that letterpress is making a comeback. We have learned that things were made better back in the day; such as vacuums, kitchen essentials and cars, specifically the DeLorean.

 

*Friends not guaranteed.

 

Example of the impression made by the letterpress.

Example of the impression made by the letterpress.