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Letterpress is the method pioneered by Gutenberg and while it's ancient it creates beautiful printed pieces with a richness and a personality rarely matched by other processes. In various incarnations letterpress was the predominant printing process, until the emergence of modern offset printing in the 20th Century. In Letterpress printing, raised surface it might be wood, it might be metal, maybe even linoleum is inked and then pressed into paper. That pressure creates a debossed effect. It pushes the image into the paper. That adds dimension to the printed piece.
There's been a resurgence of Letterpress printing as an artisan process in recent years, and there are now even photopolymer plates that can adhered to a base giving designers the ability to use Letterpress with digital artwork. Letterpress printing often uses exotic or handmade paper stocks, and that adds to the personality of the piece. It's often used for invitations and announcements. Only one color can be printed at a time unless multiple inks are sort of painted onto the plate. That's called a split fountain and registration of multiple impressions is a challenge.
Consequently, Letterpress is almost always used for single color jobs. Its strengths are its beautiful typography and crisp edges. While original old metal type components are really highly prized, small niche foundries are producing new metal type, some on refurbished antique type equipment. Think about it. A printing process that which created in the 1450s, is still putting ink on paper today. Isn't that wonderful?
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