Stationery Printing Processes
When you send save the date cards or invitations, of the words printed on the stationery articulate vital information about the occasion (e.g. wedding date, bride's name, groom's name). The process used to imprint that information is often the most important indicator of the levels of style and sophistication at your event. Fortunately, there are a number of different printing processes that vary in cost and elegance for you to choose from. Whichever printing process you select should match the degree of formality you want at your special occasion.
Digital Offset Printing via High Resolution Digital Press
Many of the Signature White and Signature Ecru collection designs from Wedding Paper Divas use the highest quality digital printing press available. The digital press delivers high resolution digital color that rivals the traditional offset printing press used on most stationery. Unlike some digital printers that use toner similar to a laser printer, our digital press uses liquid ink. The print quality is similar to flat offset printing with bright, long-lasting colors. On demand digital offset printing is the latest technology in the color printing industry, offering the quality of traditional offset printing while capitalizing on the efficiency of a totally digital workflow. This means you get the best print quality for graphics, text and photographs at the most competitive prices, and with the quickest turnaround. Plus, Wedding Paper Divas is able to continuously provide fresh designs since orders are always printed on-demand.
Letterpress Printing from Wedding Paper Divas and William ArthurThe Wedding Paper Divas Letterpress Collection uses traditional, high quality letterpress printing. Letterpress is the oldest and most versatile method of printing. Originally, printers produced letterpress prints using cast metal type or plates. The desired image or printing areas would be raised above the non-printing areas of the plate, allowing ink to touch only the top surface of the raised areas. The surrounding flat or non-printing areas are lower, and therefore do not receive ink. The inked image is transferred directly into the paper. Sometimes a slight embossing appears on the reverse side of the paper because of denting caused by the letterpress process. The finished letterpress image is usually sharp and crisp.
Flat Offset Printing
Often called simply flat printing, offset printing involves a process in which the ink appears to lay flat atop the paper. It's less expensive than engraving or thermography, and creates a less formal look. A metal or paper plate is prepared from a black and white image, typically using a laser printer. The printer then treats the plate so that the ink adheres to the image. The printer hangs the plate on a press, and the image is transferred onto paper.
Still the most elegant way to prepare social stationery, calligraphy involves a professional calligrapher handwriting each piece of your stationer. Since calligraphers typically charge by the hour, this process can be very costly. Thus, calligraphy is typically reserved for only the most formal of occasions.
Developed during the 1700s, engraving is a classic, formal printing process. Engraved invitations have a distinct look and feel that is easily recognizable. Because of their superior quality, however, engraving is the most expensive printing process available. The paper is pressed against a metal plate, causing the printing press to raise the letters on the paper. You can feel each character when you run a finger across the back of the paper. The raised letters in a matte ink finish produces an indentation on the reverse, and a gentle wave or ripple on lighter papers that gives engraved stationery a look of distinction.
This popular printing process results in a raised or three-dimensional print effect that emulates the finished quality of engraving. Thermography is a simple process typically used in conjunction with any conventional wet-ink printing press. When the printed sheets come off a press pass, they pass through a powder application where resin is applied to the wet ink. The resin is then removed from the sheet except where it adheres to the wet ink. The printer then heats the paper, causing the resin to melt and fuse to the ink. The page is then cooled, which finalizes the process. Since there is less manual labor required, thermography is much more cost-effective than engraving. However, stationery with classic engraving still tends to have a fuller, more complete raised printing effect. The letters from a thermographed print are also shinier than engraved characters.
Also called blind embossing, this process creates a raised impression on a sheet of paper by pressing the paper between two heated metal dies. One die fits into the other mirror-image die like a lock and key. The embossing is termed "blind" because the design is formed without ink or foil (debossing is an image stamped onto paper or a napkin without ink or foil, causing it to appear "indented"). Embossing is an excellent way to convey very sophisticated and elegant design motifs and print.
This process involves creating a die which is pressed against a special kind of foil that transfers the design onto paper under heat and pressure. Foil-stamping is typically used to make highly complex images and prints.
If you have good penmanship and a great deal of time, you can buy stock announcements and envelopes to write your personal notes by hand. The downside of this process is that writing announcements and other social stationery by hand is generally perceived as less formal than the alternative printing processes.