If you’ve reached out to me about helping design your paper goods and signage (thank you!), we will soon talk through every piece. Before your head starts to spin with all the choices, I wanted to break down the main types of printing.
Digital/Flat Printing - Ink is flat on the paper.
This is the most common and affordable type of printing. Digital printing uses high-resolution, digital files to print flat images. The result is vivid color and incredible detail. No plates (wait, what is a plate?*) are needed, which is why it is less costly. The number of colors you print is not limited. If you like florals, leaves or lots of color - digital is the way to go.
Thermography - Ink is raised up on paper using heat.
Thermography is a method of printing that’s both classic and affordable. While the ink is still wet on the paper, resin is sprinkled and then exposed to heat (which is why it has it’s name!). The ink and resin combine causing the lettering to raise up. Thermography is usually one color.
Letterpress - Ink is pressed into the paper.
Letterpress is one of the oldest forms of printing dating back to the 15th century. The raised surface of a plate is inked and then pressed into a thicker paper. The result is a design that is sunken into the paper and has an inset texture. Typically letterpress invitations are 1-2 colors as each additional color requires a separate plate and run through the press.
Foil Stamping - Foil is pressed into paper.
This last type of printing is somewhat similar to letterpress, but instead of ink, metallic foil is applied to paper with pressure. Additional foil colors add cost as each need it's own individual plate.
*What is plate? A plate is a tool that transfers your inked design onto the paper. It’s kind of like a rubber stamp, but larger. Print plates are made of various material depending on the print process.
I typically only recommend investing in letterpress, thermography or foil on your invitations. Digital is usually the way to go on day-of items.
As we talk, we will go through some other topics as well. Such as...
Quantity - This one is super important for quoting. Remember for save the dates and invitations, you need to calculate this number based on the number of households you will be sending these, not guest count. For your day-of details (programs, menus, etc), you will want to estimate this based on subtracting 10-20% from your total list of guests invited.
Double or single-sided - This decision is mostly based on how much content you have and if it will fit best on one or two sides. Typically, programs are double-sided. Menus can be as well if you choose to include a thank you note on the back. I usually recommend your save the dates be double-sided so you can include your wedding website there. For signage, this can be single-sided if you plan on framing it. If your table number will be standing, making them double-sided so they can be seen from both sides is the move!
It’s totally okay if you don’t have all the answers when we talk. My goal is to educate and help you make these decisions even it’s not right then and there. If you ever have any questions, please ask! No question is dumb and I know you don’t live in the same printing world as me! It’s my job to help you figure out what you’re looking for with as little stress as possible.
Cover photo by Fresh Look Photography.