Letterpress Printing

At Imaginary Beast, we have an intense love and appreciation for all things letterpress. This is in part because letterpress is a beautiful printing process but is also because we are wild about our longtime local printing partners, Igloo Letterpress.

Letterpress is one of our favorite ways to print a wedding invitation. The tactile quality of the final piece and the unique salty texture of the design adds a warmth that just can't be achieved with modern day digital printing. 

At Igloo Letterpress, they treat each project like the special snowflake that it is and have incredible attention to detail that is truly unmatched. Each piece is individually printed on one of their antique presses by pushing an inked photopolymer plate into the paper, which leaves a slight indentation, or "impression" that can be seen and felt. 

What is letterpress?

Letterpress is a relief printing process wherein lead type, plates, linocuts, images, or photopolymer plates are locked into the bed of a press, inked via rollers or brayers, and paper is pressed into it to transfer the ink from the plates to the paper.

How long will it take? 

Due to the nature of the printing process, letterpress takes a little more time than digital printing. Once you have approved the final design, we'll release the files to Igloo Letterpress. After that, it typically takes them from 10-15 business days to complete the order. After they've finished, we'll ship it directly to your doorstep!

Choosing a Paper

We have two house papers that we typically use for letterpress, but love experimenting with other stocks for custom orders. Our house stocks are pillowy cotton numbers in bright white and cream. They are 110lb coverstock (translation: they are thick and can hold a nice impression). If you'd like a mega-deep impression or edge painting, we recommend upgrading to a 220lb stock (an additional cost, but pretty darn impress-ive (get it?!)). 

Number of Colors

Letterpress shines brightest (and is the most cost effective) when used with only one or two ink colors. Pieces are priced per ink color, since each color takes an additional run through the press and needs an additional plate. 



The Terminology 

written by Igloo Letterpress

Impression: The indentation that is produced by the inked area of a piece. This is due to the printing process where a plate 

Blind Impression: A letterpress impression with no ink. A blind impression can be a gorgeous, subtle addition to any wedding suite. 

Salty: The mottled ink area in a large section of print that is caused by the layer of ink and how it interacts with the plate material, how it is transferred to the paper, and the texture/tooth of the paper itself.

Flood: A large section of similarly-leveled area in a print design. Type or images may be “knocked out” to use the paper color as the relief color in the flood.

Bruising: The area on the reverse side of a print that is “pushed out” due to deep impression.