5 Ways to Print Your Custom Stationery

Hi again! Today I wanted to touch on a few printing processes you might consider when ordering custom stationery - whether it's personalized notecards, wedding invitations, or birth announcements, these are all print methods you should keep in mind! 

The printing process you choose can have a major impact on the cost and look of your custom stationery, but knowing which process is right for you can be really confusing - especially without a solid understanding of the differences in each type. 

I've picked five of the most popular printing processes and broken them down for you. Hopefully this helps give you better insight into each type of printing and starts to give you an idea of what process might be best for you! 

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Digital Printing

Digital printing is the most common and most affordable print process. It consists of ink being flat printed directly onto the paper without using dies or plates. 

Digital is a great choice if you:

  • Need a low quantity
  • Have watercolor or photography elements in your design
  • Need quick production time
  • Have a tighter budget 
  • Need variable printing (different names or addresses on multiple pieces) 

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Letterpress Printing

Letterpress printing is a beautiful relief technique that uses a custom plate for each color being printed. The paper is rolled over and pressed against the inked plate resulting in the design being transferred onto the paper.

It is a very hands-on technique for the printer and leaves the paper with an impression that can be seen and felt once printing is complete. 

Letterpress is a gorgeous printing technique best used if:

  • You are only printing fine lines and text 
  • You have a longer production timeline (production can often take over 2 weeks) 
  • Want depth and texture in your stationery
  • Have a higher budget 

Foil Stamping 

Similar to letterpress, foil stamping uses a custom plate or die to stamp your image onto the paper. With foil stamping, the die is heated before it is pressed onto the paper, leaving a thin layer of the foil behind. Because foil can only be applied one color at a time, it is also more labor intensive and expensive than digital printing.

While foil stamping is often associated with gold, silver, or other metallics, it actually comes in a variety of colors and finishes and is a great technique if: 

  • You do want a metallic finish for your stationery 
  • Want more visual impact 
  • Have a higher budget and longer production timeline 

Screen Printing

Screen printing uses a screen of mesh to make a stencil of your design. Ink is then pulled over the screen using a roller or squeegee and pushed through the stencil onto the paper. The ink sits on top of the paper and can result in much more vibrant colors than other print processes. It also results in a very distinct look! 

It's not ideal for delicate text or fine details and because it is printed one color at a time, it's also a more costly print process. Screen printing is a technique to consider if:

  • You desire very vibrant and bold colors
  • You do not want a delicate or soft look to your stationery 
  • You have a higher budget
  • You have a longer production time 

Embossing & Debossing 

Embossing and debossing use two custom dies that sandwich your paper and leave a 3D effect. You can have the embossed or debossed design printed, foil stamped, or leave it untouched­.

Untouched embossing/debossing is known as being "blind" and leaves the paper with a clean 3D impression of your design. 

The difference in the two is that embossing leaves the design raised while debossing leaves the design depressed (similar to letterpress). These are good techniques if: 

  • You have a small area you'd like to have texture or depth
  • You have a higher budget
  • You have a longer production time 

Combining Print Processes 

Finally, a great choice to consider is combining print methods. While this can be a little more costly, if you have the budget for it, it may give you just the results you want! 

Two popular examples of this is to combine digital with letterpress or foil stamping. If you want your design to include an element such as a photo or watercolor but love the look and feeling or letterpress or foil, then combining the processes will give you a piece that includes both! 

Of course, if you still need help deciding what print process is right for you we're happy to give our recommendations and guide you along the way! We want to help you find the process that best fits your style and budget, no matter what that might be!  

 

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Katherine Bates