Letterpress printing is such a beautiful way to finish off your wedding invitations, but working with a printer the first time can be confusing! Kseniya from Thomas-Printers Invitations has some great advice about working with letterpress printers.
No event really starts until the invitations are sent out. And even though I’m biased, as a letterpress printer, I think paper invitations — especially letterpress-printed ones — are absolutely the best way to welcome your guests to celebrate with you. So, let’s say that you’ve decided that your wedding invitations must be letterpress-printed. Excellent — the printers of America thank you! How do you go about working with a printer who can make your all your papery dreams come true?
Letterpress printers are easy to find, these days (Ladies of Letterpress has more that 1000 members alone!), so that part will be easy. The whole process will be easy, actually, if you follow these helpful hints.
- First off, there are many kinds of letterpress printers: which kind do you need? There are those who mostly print others’ work, those who print and sell their own designs and do some custom printing, and those who do no custom printing at all. Thomas-Printers, my company, mainly prints other folk’s designs from digital files. If you or a designer has prepared a file for you,you’ll need to find a printer who is accustomed to printing custom work. Find a printer whose work you like, and ask them if they take custom orders and how long their turnaround is.
- Once you’ve found a group of potential printers, it’s time to request quotes. The more specific you can be about the quantity, size, and number of ink colors per-piece, the more precise the quote will be. All printers have their own costs associated with production (rent, salaries, costs of materials, and so on), so you can expect some variation in price. Likewise, there are no fixed prices for letterpress printing, but if someone hasn’t been printing for very long and their quote comes in quite low or extremely high, that could be a sign of inexperience.
- A brief message about pricing: letterpress is expensive, no doubt about it, but it’s a hand-made product that takes time, skill, and precision. Things that may not appear on the estimate but nevertheless cost the printer time and money are phone consultations, speedy and friendly customer service, organizing other people (die-makers, paper vendors, etc) so that your job has everything it needs when the printer is ready to start production. Additional ink colors, pressruns (if your design has large areas of solid color, and thinner delicate areas, and both in the same color, you may need an additional run), or last-minute changes may add to the final cost.
- Every printer has his or her own preferred file type, but usually, if supplying your own art, it will need to be a file created in a vector-based program (Adobe Illustrator or InDesign). Asking your printer about the file types and specs and sending a print-ready file will save time and money!
- Only very rarely does the client send paper to us for printing. It’s much easier for me to buy the paper in the larger sheets we need, trim them down to a press-sheet, print them, and then givethem their final trim. It’s great if you know the paper you’d like your invitations printed on, but don’t hesitate to ask your printer for suggestions.
- Do allow extra time for production in case your printer needs extra time—she’ll love you for it! And whatever you do,
- Don’t leave printing for the last minute.
- A final thought: as much as I am in favor of doing things yourself, I have to plead that you don’t DIY your own letterpress wedding invitations, unless you have the help of a skilled professional. We “fix” several jobs every year where the bride or bridegroom had the best intentions of printing their own wedding suite, only to find that the results are less than great.While anyone can learn to print, an important job like this is best left to a pro who can get them printed and done in a speedy manner.
- A final final thought: don’t be afraid to ask questions of your printer. We love our customers,and love talking to them and teaching them about the letterpress-printing process.
Kseniya Thomas is the owner of Thomas-Printers and Thomas-Printers Invitations in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
When I decided on the theme of this roundup, I assumed that blue designs would be everywhere — however, blue was in the minority, behind pink, green, and other colors! I found some really great examples though — both soothing light blue; deep, exciting electric blue; and more in-between.
Paper + Pinafore
Girl Metro, Inc.
Ice Cream Social
Lisa Samartino Atelier
Real Card Studio
Happy 4th of July everyone! Back in May, we got a great look into Julie’s beautiful bilingual invitation, further cementing Cartoule’s Press as one of my favorite designers on WeddingInviteLove. So this week I’ve chosen Cartoule’s Press to be our featured vendor this week — congratulations!
See more of Julie’s beautiful work on her WeddingInviteLove profile, or head straight to the Cartoule’s Press website.
Happy Friday, happy July, and happy Canada Day! Today is the start of our WeddingInviteLove vendor appreciation month, with a big giveaway that includes that snippet of a letterpress poster above as one of the prize! Sign up for FREE as a vendor for WeddingInviteLove to receive an entry (and then refer more vendors for more entries!).
On to the weekly links!
New WeddingInviteLove Vendors:
Have a great long weekend everyone!
WeddingInviteLove wouldn’t be around and as awesome as it is if it wasn’t for the awesome vendors listed, and this month is my month to give my thanks to those that have signed up and to welcome new vendors into the fold! And what better way to support those vendors than to do a dedicated giveaway?
To win, I’m giving away…
Two prize packages, each package worth $360, each including:
- 1 year free of a WeddingInviteLove upgraded account. Upgraded accounts allow for more URLs and profile customization in WeddingInviteLove profiles, 10 portfolio images, higher and larger listings in the search results, and priority advertising here at the WeddingType Blog. For a year, you can be one of the top listings on all of WeddingInviteLove. Worth: $300
- 6 months of a Social Butterfly account on SocialGrapple.com. SocialGrapple is a Twitter analytics service (that I personally use and adore) and the Social Butterfly account allows you to track two Twitter accounts (who follows, who unfollows, how long they followed you before they unfollowed, who the important accounts are that follow you, and much, much more) as well as Twitter keyword tracking (who’s mentioning you or your brand? Are they important?). Social media and Twitter are important to any company and SocialGrapple will help you use Twitter more effectively! Worth: $60
BONUS, from my own collection, only one:
Cameron Moll’s 16x24in typographic letterpress poster. It’s an amazing piece to see in person. Worth: $100
How to win:
Existing WeddingInviteLove-listed vendors:
Congrats, you automatically get one entry! Thank you *so much* for signing up to WeddingInviteLove and supporting us. But get more entries by doing the following:
- Are you an upgraded account? You get two more entries for a total of three! Also, any account that upgrades during July will automatically get the extra entries as well.
- Get an extra entry each time a new invitation vendor signs up to WeddingInviteLove.com during July and mentions you as the referral! Unlimited, invite as many people to join as possible. :) I’ll email to confirm the extra entries for every accepted referred vendor.
New WeddingInviteLove vendors during July (join for free here!):
- Every new vendor during July gets one entry.
- Every new upgraded vendor gets three entries.
- New vendors also get an extra entry for every new account they refer!
See who’s listed on WeddingInviteLove easily here.
I will draw a random person from existing WeddingInviteLove vendors to win one package, and another random person from new vendors to win the other package. Then, all entries will be combined, and one person will drawn to win the Salt Lake City letterpress poster.
Contest ends July 31st at midnight, open internationally.
Are you excited?
I wrote an article on my personal blog about my email management strategies and how I avoid being overwhelmed by email, using a slew of tactics from canned responses, smart filtering, and multiple inboxes. While it isn’t the most invitation-related article in the world, I think most people let their email get too messy, which can lead to a ton of stress. Hope you like it — check it out over on limedaring.com!
Yay, something brand new to the blog! Katie from Invitations by Ajalon graciously invited me to a studio tour up in Northern California near Santa Rosa (the roadtrip itself was a treat with the discovery of the best cupcakes in the world), and I had the best of time seeing their office and watching their press fly on a set of custom invitations. Ajalon Printing & Design has been providing print and design services for over 50 years — find special deals on their invitations on Facebook or read more about them on their website.
Beautiful red ink for the invitations.
The best picture I could get of the press running. I wish I had video ability on my camera!
Is it grey? Or gray? Either way, this soft color is the perfect complement to any color on your wedding invitations. Ignore those that say grey is dreary — on a cloudy day, look around: colors pop and become even more magnificent!
Here are some of my favorite grey designs on WeddingInviteLove:
Marit Hanson Weddings
Bloom Art & Design
Ruby the Fox Design
Girl Metro, Inc.
Oblation Papers & Press
And Kathleen Design Co.
The White Aisle
Ruby & Willow
This is one of my favorite invitations on WeddingInviteLove (really, go see my Pinterest board of all my favorite WeddingInviteLove designs). Amanda from baci designer stationery + events did such a great job — it’s so lovely to see full invitation suites that work so well and compliment every piece in the batch. The rustic brown, tree motifs, and seeded paper are right up my alley, and I hope you love it as much as I do!
Hi! I’m Amanda of baci designer stationery + events, a custom stationery and event planning boutique located in Northeast Ohio. Every day I have to pinch myself because I absolutely love what I do! Making brides and grooms squeal with delight when they see their invitations for the first time is awesome, especially when it’s your friends. That’s where this invitation started, with our dear friends, Jesse and Laurinda. They were planning an October wedding with a warm and rustic fall theme (you can see what inspired us when planning here on baci’s blog!). After our initial meeting we had everything set in stone, then my husband and I went to the National Stationery Show in New York and found what has now become my favorite thing ever — handmade seeded paper, you plant it in the ground and wild flowers grow. It is amazing!!! As soon as I saw it, I knew Laurinda would fall in love and she most certainly did! So much so that we threw our initial plan out the window and began again with the seeded paper as our main inspiration. And that’s how their beautiful stationery suite came about :o)
I began the design process by creating Jesse and Laurinda’s tree logo that ending up on everything from the save the date to the programs. I even “carved” their initials, J + L, into the tree trunk. Since we did a save the date postcard, we couldn’t use the delicate seeded paper. Instead we choose a thicker stock that was made to look recycled, but was thick enough to survive the mailing process.
I printed each piece of Jesse and Laurinda’s stationery in-house due to the unique, handmade nature of the seeded paper (if you look close you can see the chunks and flecks of the paper in the photo above), it was so much easier to control the quality of each piece that way.
The suite consisted of an invitation, a two-sided directions/accommodations card, complete with a custom designed “road map” of the area, and a reply card.
We used recycled brown bag envelopes for the reply card, complete with vintage postage (hands down my favorite thing EVER!), and for the outer envelope, which I printed the couple’s tree logo onto.
We finished off the suite by hand-tying it into a beautiful little package with twine and a planting tag that read, “In memory of our special day, plant our invitation suite in your garden, keep it moist, tend it with love and watch it grow!” This let each guest know just how special the invitation really was :o)
Jesse and Laurinda really started a trend, too — I now have two other October weddings that are using seeded paper! I can’t wait to see them finished!
Thank you Amanda! See more on baci’s WeddingInviteLove profile, or on www.bacidesigner.com/.