Letterpress: Where, How and Inspirational resources

Recently I have been on the hunt for online letterpress printers for a current branding project I am working on and sent out a Tweet which resulted in many great links (thanks everyone!) and also others interested in discovering the same thing; the best places to get it done.

For those unfamiliar with letterpress printing it is in short “a term for the relief printing of text and image using a press with a “type-high bed” printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image.” My shorter definition of the above: “Just plain beautiful!”

Below are a few online letterpress studios for you to get your next letterpress jobs printed, information about how to set up files for letterpress and 25+ images of beautiful letterpress inspiration.

Letterpress Studios

Studio on Fire

studioonfire

The Mandate Press

mandate

Boxcar Press

boxcarpress

Dolce Press

dolce

Bjorn Letterpress Studio

bjorn

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR FILES

The team over a Boxcar Letterpress have a nice ‘Designing for letterpress’ and ‘File prep instruction’ guide, so before you start designing your files and decide you want letterpress work read these letterpress guidelines first.

Also, every letterpress studio is different so make sure you consult each studio separately to make sure you meet their guidelines and specifics.

INSPIRATION!

Below are 25+ inspirational and absolutely breathtaking letterpress designs:

picture-2

495138384_78b077a319

2885620983_d30493912d

2969851183_167eb8bbba

3594571450_b8bbc402b8

3689073244_6eb80c2113

3725492908_e5f5746eac

3761796509_6ecfbe3304

_0000_birds_of_sadness_poster

_0001_aiga_cover_show_through

_0005_aiga_studio_on_fire_tour_cut_coasters

_0008_sabira_ashish_wedding_booklet

applied

brenna

elephant_folded_1

modern

moonspeed2

picture-1

picture-3

postcard

poster-domino-615-250-c

simple_bits

stationery-bf-b2

stella_c_21

strans

il-fullxfull83159993



Discussion and Comments

+ Add to the discussion
  1. Erica says:

    This is a great collection and a great article…and great timing for my needs!

    Thanks

  2. Thanks for this.
    My next business card will be letterpress and I had no idea where to get them printed.

  3. Mert TOL says:

    Very nice and useful post as always Brian. But, i want to say, sometimes online letterpress studios making big problems to their customers about delivery and other things. I guess, this step is very important for every designer. Clients are waiting but documents are still not coming… Very bad situation. If you can write your advices,tips like “Before you select your letterpress company”, maybe new designers can get some good experience. Or maybe, you may collect experiences and tips from us and write down in the another article. Just an idea…

    And last, maybe people may want to check this video for more inspiration. Link

  4. Brian says:

    Mert,
    Extremely valid points and glad you brought them up. Thanks. Also, thanks for the link to the video. Just finished watching it and adding it to my Vimeo ‘Likes’ :)

  5. The Mandate Press says:

    Great article Brian, and thank you for the plug!

  6. Brian says:

    Mandate,
    You’re welcome and thanks for the beautiful work.

  7. Austin says:

    Thanks for all the info, I’ve been looking at letterpress for our company’s branding materials. There is some really good inspiration here. To me, nothing is more professional than a great designed, letterpressed piece.

  8. Kostandinos says:

    Lots of good stuff here that I haven’t seen before – which is always a nice surprise. The card for Caroline Myers is still one of my favorites… it’s begging to be touched! Thanks to you & Boxcar for sharing the info on preparing files… diving into now. I think it’s time I got serious about creating the letterpress ideas I’ve had for a few years now. As always, thanks for another great post of inspiration, Brian! :)

    Viva Letterpress!
    @suedecrush

  9. John Wang says:

    Hey Brian,
    Great post and resources. Just a minor annoyance with your site; all the images are links to themselves. It would be better if the links were actually going somewhere. I would recommend either not making them a link or using a Lightbox modal effect.

    http://www.huddletogether.com/projects/lightbox2/

  10. Chris Rossi says:

    Thanks for the great collection of resources and inspiration! I LOVE letterpress. Im in the process of designing some letterpress business cards for myself and a couple good friends so very timely as well :) I just love seeing everyone’s creative use of such a beautiful process.

  11. Brian says:

    millie,
    Thanks for including Jessica’s card. She’s actually a colleague of mine and both graduates of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. I have great respect for her work… a true master of her art.

    John,
    Typically I always remove the link unless it’s going to a site or some other resource. Just a long day I suppose and forgot to remove them ;) but the issue is fixed now. Thanks for bring it to my attention and glad you enjoyed the post.

  12. Great! Bookmarked for future reference.

  13. Evan Spiegel says:

    I’m not sure I understand what the previous commenter meant about having problems with shipping. I have dealt with several of these companies and have never had a problem with shipping. I think the key is to start the dialog early and make sure they are responsive and responsible. The studios I have worked with will ship internationally and are available almost 24/7 by phone/email.

    Thanks for the post!

  14. Great post, we just started a blog dedicated to letterpress (and other forms of traditional printing) at TheRegressive.co.uk, very useful :)

  15. [...] Hoff just posted a nice collection of letterpress links on his [...]

  16. Paul says:

    Thanks for the inspiration and resource Brian. Great collection. I’m also looking to get this done for my business card we’ll see how it turns out tho.

    Paul

  17. Briana says:

    Great timing! I just printed my first letterpress broadside yesterday, so I REALLY appreciate the work and skill that goes into making these. Thanks!

  18. Casey Hald says:

    Wow, great collection!

  19. I too had no idea where to get this kind of stuff printed up. Thanks for the list, I’ll be bookmarking this for sure :)

  20. Hernan Valencia says:

    LOVE IT! Thank you, I needed something like this

  21. [...] Letterpress: Where, How and Inspiration! For those unfamiliar with letterpress printing it is in short “a term for the relief printing of text and image using a press with a “type-high bed” printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image.” [...]

  22. Jess says:

    What pristine work. It all looks very ‘touchable’. Something I think people like to do when they get any type of collateral with a texture…they feel it to see what kind of senses it provokes.

  23. Gorgeous. Thanks for the tips, Brian. Bookmarked for future use.

  24. [...] Letterpress: Where, How And Inspiration [...]

  25. Pamela says:

    Thanks Brian. These are amazing. Very helpful as I was just looking into letterpress the other day!

  26. [...] to Get Inspired – See What Best Designers Do Plugins That Make WordPress Into A Company Intranet Letterpress: Where, How and Inspiration! 20 Creative Hand Drawn Websites Designs Colors on The Web: Color Theory for Designers 10 Common [...]

  27. naniprints says:

    Great to see this post, Brian, with great examples. Good idea to point folks to the file prep advice!

    A resource you and your readers might enjoy is the Felt & WIre Letterpress Directory on Mohawk Paper’s Felt & Wire blog: http://www.feltandwire.com/?cat=12

    ~Nani

  28. [...] Hoff of the design cubicle took the time to put together a comprehensive list of online letterpress printers. He also has posted some nice [...]

  29. david says:

    i don’t know what comprehensive list means when all i see are 5 printers, and i don’t think one of them comes up on a google search for letterpress printing.
    i doubt you will print this comment because it does not praise you for being so great but i really don’t get what you did, except put together some photos.

    you certainly did not put together a comprehensive list. try briar press or fiveroses or many other sources. looks to me like a brazen commercial move.

  30. [...] Letterpress: Where, How and Inspiration! Great read on Letterpress printing (tags: ping.fm tech) [...]

  31. Craig says:

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been looking for an online letterpress printer for a while now when I came upon this on Google. I’m going to be designing some wedding invitations and this will really help.

  32. [...] to Get Inspired – See What Best Designers Do Plugins That Make WordPress Into A Company Intranet Letterpress: Where, How and Inspiration! 20 Creative Hand Drawn Websites Designs Colors on The Web: Color Theory for Designers 10 Common [...]

  33. [...] It’s no secret around here, that I like letterpress design, and think that it’s a growing trend (and it would seem that I’m not alone on that. I even wrote a tutorial on how to achieve the look in Photoshop. Around the design community, you can also find a tutorial on how to create the look using CSS, and plenty of letterpress design inspiration. [...]

  34. Janine Toro says:

    Great post and article. Beautiful designed work!

  35. Janine Toro says:

    Great post and article. Thanks for sharing the beautifully designed work!

  36. [...] Letterpress: Where, How and Inspiration! (tags: letterpress design inspiration businesscards typography resources printing) [...]

  37. [...] little things matter. I was shopping around for business cards. I was interested in letterpressed cards, for obvious reasons, and I came across The Mandate Press. They sent me samples, which blew [...]

  38. [...] Letterpress: Where, How and Inspiration! (tags: inspiration resources gallery businesscards) [...]

  39. Thank you for details. It helped me in my mission

  40. Thomas S says:

    Wow Brian. What a great list. Great job copying what Swiss Miss just did the other day. You could have waited another week at least.
    http://www.swiss-miss.com/2010/01/question-for-my-readers-letterpress-studios.html

  41. Brian says:

    Thomas,
    I actually waited negative 5 months. If you would have taken a few minutes to check when my article was published instead of leaving a snooty comment you would have noticed mine was published in August and referred Tina (aka Swiss Miss) to it when she tweeted her question about good letterpress printers.

  42. Kristine says:

    Paper is everything when it comes to letterpress and I’d like to give a plug to Reich Paper who just launched a new letterpress paper “Savoy” that is so fantastic! It’s small mill made in France with old world quality and is like butter with letterpress.

  43. Liaa says:

    All the samples are beautiful. *sigh* My fiance and I wanted our wedding invitation done in letterpress but most printing presses in our city and almost the whole country of the Philippines do not do it anymore. Mainly because the machines are old and it’s not very in demand. But it’s such a beautiful craft. I wish we could have that. But I also know it’s quite expensive if there is such a printing press here who does that :(

  44. Fawn says:

    THANK you for this, Brian!

  45. mitzi says:

    @ brian: thank you for the post!

    @ lisa: had the same dilemma when i was about to get married in 2006. we print letterpess now. (actually started in 2009) please do email me if you have any requirements. :)

Brian Hoff
About Brian Hoff: Designer, Writer and Speaker

I’m a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York who loves creating compelling and useful websites and memorable interactions across the web. When I’m not designing I can be found writing, speaking and occasionally part-time teaching at colleges — all on the subject of design. I started this blog to share my passion and experiences with designers and clients. I'm most active on Twitter; say hello:


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