About a year and a half ago, we did a blog post on foiling and letterpress and how these printing techniques produce the beautiful results that they do.

Because the month of July is all about printing, well, we thought it’s worth a refresher! And to be honest, we don’t see these styles going out of print anytime soon!

letterpress example



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. Certain methods of embossing uses the same technique, just in reverse. Instead of the details being pressed INTO the paper, it is the details that are raised OUT of the paper. Most of the time the plate is pushed into the paper from the reverse side to create the raised effect. We’ll be focusing on the letterpress side of things in this post, but didn’t want to leave embossing completely out of the picture!

Many of my clients ask why letterpress comes with a higher price tag than standard 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, heat and use. And it’s important to remember that each colour you use 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 and embossed looks are created by pressing the plate into the paper, so the media you use needs to be thick enough to absorb that pressure and leave a dent. 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 work on a manual hand press. Some print shops do use a motorized press, however, it still needs alignment setup and constant supervision, and the print speed can be much slower than standard printing.




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 2019/2020. Look for non-traditional colours making their way onto the page. Skip gold and silver and look at opal, 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 $200 per plate required. We should also note that there will be a setup fee for each time an item is re-placed on the press. This means if your plate is used twice on your invitations, once on your RSVP card and then again on your accommodation card, you would be looking at 4 setup fees for this design.

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!