Letterpress printing is known to be the oldest form of printing and design known to man since the 15th century. It works by repeatedly imprinting an inked object, usually letters and symbols on a piece of paper, until the symbol is engraved. Letterpress printing, also called relief or typographic printing, was the best and most important method of printing until the 18th century, where lithography was introduced.
In letterpress printing, the metal symbols are arranged accordingly before they are presented on paper. After the arrangement, they are then inked and pressed against the paper using a raised metal.
Letterpress printing is gaining ground recently because of its unique and vintage style. More businesses are using it, as well as individuals. Below is a step-by-step outlining of the process of letterpress printing:
Draw a Sketch
The first thing to do in letterpress printing is to draw up a sketch of what you want your design to look like. You need to decide if you want uppercase lowercase or a combination of both in your design.
Pick a Typeface
Typefaces in letterpress printing are very similar to what we know as fonts in modern times. Every typeface has a unique style, with its complete set of numbers and alphabets. As it is with fonts, you have to carefully choose a typeface that will be perfect for your design.
Set Your Print Type
After you have done your sketch and picked the typeface of your choice, the next thing to do is to set them. In letterpress printing, this means that you set all your typefaces on a line with a composing stick. After setting these metals on a line, a thick metal is then added after every line to represent spacing. Once everything is all set, the composing sticks are tied together and proofread before engraving on paper.
Fit in a Metal Frame
After proofreading what you have tied, the next step is to untie them and fit them into a metal frame. This frame is subsequently fitted into a printing press, and this fitting has to be done tightly to avoid any movement in the typefaces. This is important because any kind of movement can lead to a major mistake in the final product of your printing.
Pick Your Colors
This is where you have a lot of work to do because the letterpress printer can only print a single color at a time. What this means is that if you desire to have more than one color on your card, you would need to be resetting the type every time you get to where there’s a change of color.
Cut and Trim
This is the last step in your letterpress printing. Now that you have your printed letters and symbols on the paper where you want them, the next thing is to trim and cut. The paper needs to be trimmed to your desired size, to give it an ideal look, and voila! There you have your printed card!
The process of Anchorage letterpress printing can be tedious as it requires a lot of manual work, unlike the digital press we are used to now. The results of letterpress printing, however, are unparalleled and they certainly are worth the effort.
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