Just Jurf Designs

AMA: How can I make letterpress work for my budget?

Tips & TricksJenn Jurf

Letterpress is jaw-dropping stunning (in my opinion!) I fell in love with letterpress and the process as soon as I dove into the wedding stationery industry. I resisted to urge for quite some time because of the price point and investment but after a few years, I gave in and have no regrets. The textured paper, the impression of the plates and hand-mixed inks were the perfect match with my simple design style.

We did letterpress for our wedding invitations and we had one of our guests tell us this story of when she was opening the mail. She started to open the envelope then stopped and had to run to grab her husband so they could experience it together. Hearing that opening our invitation was an “experience” was so magical for me and clearly, it stuck with me.

As beautiful as letterpress is, it’s also a very labor intensive process and therefore, it’s at a higher price point than digital printing. So today, I want to talk about the ways to keep letterpress costs down so you can experience the beauty for your wedding invitations.

Go all letterpress

Often times couples think that if they only do their name or specific details in letterpress, it would make the price cheaper, however, it’s actually the opposite.

The main cost of letterpress comes from the custom plates and set up time (mixing inks, setting up the press, test prints, etc.). No matter if you do the entire invitation in letterpress or a few pieces, these steps are still the same.

Now if you only do partial information, that means the other details have to be digitally printed, which comes before the letterpress stage. So with this, you’re adding a whole set of file set up, printing and labor costs to the equation.

This is the same with adding watercolor graphics, like a leaf to the design. Watercolor can’t be letterpressed so it would have to be digitally printed then go through the letterpress steps. Now, keep in mind, this is only for watercolor graphics. Line graphics can be letterpressed.

Elegant Palm Tree Letterpress Wedding Invitation - Example of line graphics that can be letterpressed.

Elegant Palm Tree Letterpress Wedding Invitation - Example of line graphics that can be letterpressed.

Botanical Greenery Letterpress Wedding Invitation - Example of watercolor graphics that can’t be letterpressed.

Botanical Greenery Letterpress Wedding Invitation - Example of watercolor graphics that can’t be letterpressed.

The most cost effective way to do letterpress is to have the entire card letterpressed.

Only letterpress the invitation

Now, this isn’t my favorite recommendation because I prefer when things have a cohesive look but I’d rather you have some letterpress than none at all. If all letterpress is out of the budget, I recommend doing letterpress for the invitation only and printing the other cards digitally.

With this option, I always recommend upgrading the digitally printed cards to the same cotton paper we use for letterpress. Even though they are both white, there is a drastic difference in color and texture when the cards are side by side.

Photo by Christine Skari

Photo by Christine Skari

I hope this helps with understanding the letterpress costs and process! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to send me a note!