General FAQs

What is Letterpress?

Letterpress is a relief printing process. Raised plates, type, or carved blocks are inked and pressed into paper to make an impression. Letterpress printing traditionally involved hand-set moveable type meticulously arranged and locked-up into the bed of a press. While hand-setting type is still done today, letterpress printing is also done using hard plastic photo-polymer printing plates made from designs created on a computer.

How long does it take?

Once final art files are submitted and approved, the printing process takes approximately two weeks. Special paper orders and printing and finishing processes may result in a longer turn-around time.

Can I have a job rushed?

Yes. Rush timing and fees vary by job. We can accommodate most requests. Please inquire before placing an order.

Can I press check my job?

Yes. If you are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and would like to press check your job for quality and color please schedule an appointment when placing your order.

Can you ship my order?

Yes. We can ship anywhere within the United States. Standard shipping and packaging rates will apply.

Is there a minimum quantity required?

No. However, since the cost of printing plates and set-up time are the same no matter the quantity, the price-per-piece increases as the number of pieces decrease.

Letterpress Papers & Envelopes

Paper We Stock

Elefant Press regularly stocks several paper stocks known for their quality with letterpress printing. See our list of papers below:

Savoy 118# Brilliant White

Savoy, made by Reich Papers, is a 100% cotton paper perfect for crisp letterpress impressions. The 118# weight is perfect for folded cards and wedding invitations.

Savoy 236# Brilliant White

Savoy, made by Reich Papers, is a 100% cotton paper perfect for crisp letterpress impressions. The 236# weight is ideal for business cards and deep impressions.

Savoy 118# Natural White

Savoy, made by Reich Papers, is a 100% cotton paper perfect for crisp letterpress impressions. The 118# weight is perfect for folded cards and wedding invitations.

Savoy 236# Natural White

Savoy, made by Reich Papers, is a 100% cotton paper perfect for crisp letterpress impressions. The 236# weight is ideal for business cards and deep impressions.

Classic Crest #130 Solar White

Class Crest, made by Neenah Paper, is a smooth all-purpose acid-free paper perfect for bright saturated color and light kiss impressions.

Classic Crest #130 Natural White

Class Crest, made by Neenah Paper, is a smooth all-purpose acid-free paper perfect for bright saturated color and light kiss impressions.

Chipboard

Board made from reclaimed paper stock. May vary in color.

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Other Letterpress Papers

We would be happy to print on any other stock you provide or would like to order, like Crane's Lettra. Please specify the paper stock when getting a quote or call us to talk further about what paper would be best for your project. Please note, our normal timeline may be extended due to the availability when ordering certain paper stocks.

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Envelopes We Stock

We stock the most common envelope sizes that match our house paper stocks. Unfortunately, because of the vast amount of sizes and types of envelopes available, we cannot stock everything. We can always print on provided envelopes or place an order for envelopes we do not regularly stock. Please note, our normal timeline may be extended due to the availability when ordering certain envelopes.

A1 Reich Savoy Brilliant White & Natural White

3 5/8 x 5 1/8 - Square Flap.

A2 Reich Savoy Brilliant White & Natural White

4 3/8 x 5 3/4 - Square Flap

A7 Reich Savoy Brilliant White & Natural White

5 1/4 x 7 1/4 - Square Flap

A9 Reich Savoy Brilliant White & Natural White

5 3/4 x 8 3/4 - Square Flap

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Other Envelopes

We would be happy to print on any other stock you provide or would like to order. Please specify the paper stock when getting a quote or call us to talk further about what paper would be best for your project. Please note, our normal timeline may be extended due to the availability when ordering certain paper stocks.

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Color

Letterpress Ink

Letterpress art is printed one color at a time. For this reason most letterpress jobs are 1-2 colors with a 3 color job being considered elaborate. Because each color requires a pass through the press and a unique printing plate, adding colors increases the cost of the job.

We print with a rubber based letterpress ink. An extremely thin layer of ink is applied to the plate through each pass allowing for a crisp image. Printing on an uncoated cotton paper will yield a slightly less saturated image since letterpress ink is slightly transparent. Printing on coated paper will yield more saturation. Because letterpress ink in transparent, overlapping colors will create a third mixed color.

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How to Specify a Color

We use the Pantone Matching System to specify and mix ink. Please include PMS numbers when beginning a letterpress job. We can also match to provided swatches of color. Please note, color may vary slightly from job to job.

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Metallic Inks

We can certainly print any pantone metallic inks specified. But please be aware that printing metallic ink on uncoated cotton paper will subdue the sheen of the ink. If a shiny metallic is required, we recommend foil stamping.

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Glossy Ink

Letterpress ink on uncoated cotton paper will not appear glossy. If high gloss ink is desired, we recommend foil stamping or printing on coated paper.

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Blind Impressions

A lovely letterpress design element can be achieved by printing a plate without ink. We do not recommend blind printing for detailed text that must be legible. Blind printing is priced the same as an ink color as printing plates and passes through the press are still required.

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White Ink on Dark Paper

We can certainly print white ink on black letterpress paper. However, since letterpress ink is translucent its strength is printing dark colors on light paper. A slight grey will be achieved with white ink on dark stock. If a bright white is required, we recommend foil stamping with white foil.

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Artwork File Tips

Preferred File Types

For final artwork we accept .ai, .eps, or print ready .pdf files. Please include or outline fonts.

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Bleed

If artwork extends beyond the paper, please include a standard .125" bleed in your file.

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Images

If you wish to print images, please ensure that they are high-quality at 300dpi or higher and are greyscale. Higher resolution images (600-1200dpi) will yield better results.

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