There really is nothing like the look and feel of an old-school letterpress invitation. It involves taking a metal plate or metal type with raised surfaces, running ink over those surfaces, pressing the inked plate onto a piece of paper, and transferring the image or text to the paper. The feel of the imprints left behind from the plate pressing into the rich cotton or textured papers simply cannot be duplicated by a digital press. And it speaks to the formality of the event.
While this printing technique is almost as old as the printing press itself, modern technology allows for amazing flexibility in design. One need not set individual metal type letters into a printing block anymore. Instead, you can create a printing plate from artwork you design on your computer. But that’s the only part of this art form that’s been modernized. The printing part is still done by hand, one invitation at a time, which is the main thing that gives a letterpress invitation its appeal.
I designed a custom letterpress invitation a few years ago featuring artwork hand drawn by my client’s daughter. It was an invitation for her son and daughter’s b’nai mitzvah. The party later that evening was at one of Los Angeles’ fanciest hotels: The Four Seasons.
For the ceremony invitation, the teenage artist drew pomegranates and grapes, two fruits common in Judaic art. She also included a hand drawn fox and owl, the nicknames the family uses to refer to the kids. I then added in a quote from scripture to further add to the meaning of the invitation. The finished result was a completely unique and custom work of art. It was stunning. And it could not have been produced using a digital press. The letterpress invitation for the evening party was equally dramatic, and was befitting of the formality of the event. It, too, featured a graphic hand-drawn by the bat mitzvah girl, along with matching text and ink colors.
If you are interesting in creating a unique, custom, letterpress invitation for your next event, contact The Invitation Maven.