STATIONERY 101

Invitation Print Methods: EXPLAINED

Digital Printing $$

Digital printing refers to the method of printing from a digital image directly to the media, in our case paper. Translation: It’s what comes out when you hit “print” from your computer. This technique is best for budget conscious jobs, designs with lots of color (especially the watercolor look), tight turnaround times, and/or small runs. Don’t assume that because it’s the least expensive, it’s also the least beautiful. When mixed with the right embellishments and great design, even a fully digitally printed suite can be a stunner!

Letterpress Printing $$$

Letterpress printing is the oldest printing technique, dating back to the 15th century. In this method, the design is turned into a plate (think: stamp) then inked and pressed with tons of force into the paper, leaving behind a colored impression that goes deep into the paper. The process is done on very large and antique pieces of machinery, ink is mixed by hand to the specifications, and each copy of the design must be individually fed into the machine, making it a very labor intensive process. Read: beautiful, but expensive. Letterpress printing is best for those who want to create a tactile and formal opening experience, a high level of formality, and/or a very classic look.

Foil Stamping $$$

If you need a little *shine* in your life, foil stamping is the print method for you! This technique uses heat and pressure to stamp metallic foil into the paper leaving a shiny, reflective design. Similar to letterpress printing, a plate of the design must be created. That plate is positioned over both the foil and the paper, then pressed with measurable force using the heat as a bonding agent for the foil to stick to the paper. This technique is best for those who want an elevated and impactful look that leans a tad less formal than letterpress. 

Mixing Print Methods

Sometimes we combine print methods to achieve a desired look. For example, if you wanted a watercolor crest but also wanted the deep impression of letterpress, we could print the crest digitally and letterpress print everything else. If you wanted to get real fancy, we could mix letterpress printing and foil stamping for an extra luxurious suite that is sure to impress. 

Other Print Methods

It’s worth mentioning that the 3 methods above are the most popular in our experience, but there are others! Engraving (uses ink to create a raised effect on the paper and much like letterpress and foil stamping, a metal plate is involved to create your desired design! $$$$), Embossing (Creates a raised effect in your design, but is left without color letting the design itself stand out! ,  $$$$), and Thermography (a very similar effect  to engraving, but instead of using metal plates, it uses a resin-like material with the design and is then heated to combine the resin powder and ink to create a raised and glossy effect as it solidifies. Still  very labor intensive but a more cost effective option for that raised look!!, $$) are a few of the less popular, but still available, choices.

Experience the Anna Howe Design Difference

If you feel overwhelmed by the task of wedding invitations and choosing the right print mehod, we have good news: we’re here to help! With so much already on your plate in the wedding planning process, we exist to take the stress of design, timeline, etiquette, and production of your save the dates, invitations, and day-of paper goods off the table. AHD clients get one-on-one access to a designer to hold your hand through every step of the process as well as unlimited proofs until every single detail is perfect! If this sounds like something you’d be into, we’d love to hear from you! Fill out the form here to get started today!

Ready to work together on your dream invitations?

The first step is to fill out the inquiry form. You’ll get a no-strings-attached estimate back within 3 business days!

Hey, I’m Anna!

I’m a wedding stationer with a passion for all things crafty. Whether you’re a bride looking for info on invitations or a mom looking for crafts for your kids (or let’s be real here, for yourself), I’m glad you’re here! Check out all the other ways to follow along below.

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