It seems like 2018 is going to be another year for foiling! It’s not surprising to see sites like Pinterest and Instagram full of images of the reintroduction of this printing style. The results are elegant, sophisticated, and add a touch of glam to your special event. It’s no wonder that I’m seeing many requests from my clients for this design style.

In the same way, the rich texture of letter-pressing is also quickly pressing (pardon the pun!) its way back into the forefront of stationery design.

To really get a good picture of the differences between the three types of print production (foil, letterpress and standard digital printing), let’s take a closer look at how each of them is created.


Let’s start with the most common – digital printing

Digital printing is created by combining cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks together to form the colours required for the design. The printer sprays tiny droplets of ink in these combinations onto the paper as the paper is forced past the ink nozzles.

Because of the many colours that can be produced, this format becomes the most cost effective for small runs—it requires only one printing pass for all colours to become visible.  Digital printing can also be used on a wide variety of print materials: paper, cardstock, plastic, metal and even glass, making it the go-to production format for signage printers as well!


Letterpress – how it’s done

The distinct letterpress look is created when ink is rolled over a metal cutout of the design (the plate, which acts as a stamp) and then pressed heavily into a thick cardstock.

Many of my clients ask why letterpress comes with a higher price tag than digital printing. There are a few factors that make this the case.

First of all, the plate must be created for the print to work. These are fairly intricate and must withstand a lot of pressure and use. And it’s important to remember that each colour requires its own plate. So, depending on the size of coverage and number of colours required, you can start with a hefty price tag, even before ink hits the paper!

The second major factor in their expense is the paper type required. The letterpress look is created by pressing the plate into the paper, so the media you use needs to be thick enough to absorb that pressure. In the print world, it’s fairly safe to say that the thicker the paper, the greater the cost.

Finally, letterpress is extremely labour intensive. Many printers still do the pressing on a manual hand press. Some print shops do use a motorized press, however, it still needs constant supervision, and the print speed can be much slower than standard printing.


Now add foiling!

Foiling and letterpress are very similar methods of printing. Both require the metal plate to be created and a press to be used. However, instead of rolling paint over the plate for each stamp, the metal plate is heated and a thin strip of foil is placed between the paper and the plate. When the plate is pushed against the paper, the heated foil transfers from the strip to the paper.

Although this method does not require the paper to be extra thick, like standard letterpress, it does take a second substrate (the foil roll) to create the design.


Final thoughts

With the stunning look that both letterpress and foiling bring, we are so happy that this continues to be a style trend into 2018. Look for non-traditional colours making their way onto the page. Skip gold and silver and look at rose gold, copper and even teal!

If you are looking to do foiling or letter pressing and are wondering if it fits within your budget, it’s a good idea to estimate that the setup charges for the plates will start at a minimum of $130 per plate required.

Do you think that either of these methods is for you? Let’s get together and talk paper! Click {here} to head to book a consultation with us!