Letterpress Printing Basics


When designing for letterpress printing, keep in mind that font size is very important. Aim to make your font sizes at least 6pt, if not bigger. Also, make sure to use crop marks to ensure that your entire design will come out during printing. Generally, designs cut at the trim line will be less than optimal. This can lead to unprofessional-looking finished products. So, if you’d like to use letterpress printing for your next project, follow these tips!

Printing by rollers

Printing by rollers is a method of fabric decoration. The printing process is usually done on two sides of the fabric and consists of a series of rollers, each of which applies a different type of ink. The resulting print is called duplex. In duplex printing, the design is printed on both sides of the fabric, making it reversible. A calender flattens the fabric using alternate rollers. The process produces a watermarked, glazed, or moire finish. The coatings may also be made of plastic or rubber.

Relief printing

Relief printing uses raised metal type or metal plates to create an image. The printed image is a mirror image of the carved parts. The printed image is then laid flat or wrapped around a cylinder. The process is similar to letterpress printing, but it uses different techniques. Relief printing is sometimes referred to as engraving. There are many different types of relief printing. Read on to learn more about each one. And get ready to explore your creativity as you create your next print!


If you are looking to print a wedding invitation or other print piece, you need to know the difference between CMYK and Pantone. Letterpress printing uses CMYK instead of HEX colours. This is because letterpress printing can only handle one colour at a time. For multi-colour graphics, you will need to shift the printing plate to a different colour and then wait for it to cool down.

Pantone colours

When it comes to letterpress printing, one of the first things you’ll want to do is understand how to match Pantone colours with your specific paper. The reason is because the ink colours on letterpress stocks are usually much more vibrant than on coated paper. You’ll need to know how to use a Pantone Uncoated reference to match your paper color exactly. Also, note that CMYK and HEX numbers are not the same.

Blind debossing

Blind debossing is an attractive way to highlight a particular design on a letterpress printed piece. It works well in conjunction with single colour letterpress printing, and the combination produces a beautiful result. In this example, the designer’s name and business description are accentuated by the blind deboss, while painted edges add an additional design layer. The process is not as time-consuming as it sounds, and it can be achieved in a number of ways, including on soft cotton paper.


The composition of letterpress printing inks has a lot to do with the method used. In general, the letterpress method requires less of the raw materials, such as water, but it also uses more pigments. The ink also dries slowly on paper, so it makes less of an impact on the press. This type of printing requires a more complicated formulation than lithographic ink, which uses water and a fast drying process.


Letterpress printing involves the art of imposition, or the arrangement of type pages. This is done in the pre-press phase of production, before the printing plates are created. For example, the illustration above shows an 8-page booklet being imposed. At first glance, the pages look upside down and out of order, but once printed, they will appear correctly. The next step in the letterpress printing process is called proofing. To learn more about proofing, read on!


For those who are new to typesetting, lock-up letterpress printing offers a way to quickly perfect the techniques for printing basic forms. In this workshop, third-generation printer Jim Moran will show you the basics of locking chases and using quoins. He will also show you how to set basic forms, including the use of a type block and the proper imposition of type. There are three types of quoins: large, medium, and small.


Pregnant women should exercise precaution when handling or using printing-related materials, such as paper. Lead, a common chemical found in printers’ types, is dangerous if not handled properly. Use vegetable oil to replace petroleum-based materials. In addition to the aforementioned lead concerns, pregnant women should consider the possible health risks associated with exposure to vegetable oil and petroleum-based products. While letterpress and vegetable oil are remarkably similar in their physical appearance and functions, the difference in printing materials should be considered carefully.


The digital age has been the biggest riposte to Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. Yet, it is still widely used in the production of posters and other modern artworks. This course explores letterpress’ technical skills, including typesetting and linoleum carving. You will learn how to use this ancient printing process to create your own poster. Interested in learning more? Keep reading. Here are some important facts about letterpress printing:

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