HOW WE CRAFT YOUR LETTERPRESS PIECES

CREATING THE PLATES

Almost every print we create begins on the screen, as vector files. This allows us flexibility through the design process, to easily make any revisions before going to print. Once we have finalised the artwork, we then create polymer plates. These are exact replicas of what is seen on screen, created by translating the design to film as a negative, and then exposing UV light through the film to polymer, which then hardens and the other areas are washed away. When the process is complete, what remains is a raised surface at type height (a very precise height is required for even inking when on the press), in the shape of the design,. A separate plate is made for each colour in the design.

Doug looking over the printing plates

MIXING THE INK

We mix each ink colour by hand, in our studio, using the Pantone colour system. Mixing ink is a finicky process and can take a number of test runs on the press to achieve the correct colour. If you have a specific colour required for your brand or project, please ensure that you supply us with an Uncoated PMS code.

mixing a custom ink colour using the pantone colour system

PREPARING THE PAPER

The paper you select is such an integral part of the final look and feel of your project. We generally use luxurious cotton or semi-cotton stocks. These are specifically designed to take the impression and highlight the beautiful craft of the letterpress process.
Before commencing printing, we cut down your paper stock on the guillotine, to a slightly larger size than the final piece. This ensures it can be fed easily through the press.

Jogging up a stack of paper ready for printing

GETTING THE JOB ON PRESS

Once the paper, inks and plates are ready, we set up the press. An adhesive backing is placed on the back of the plate, to place it in the chase and lock it into the press. Every project requires slightly different, minute adjustments to the press, to ensure that it can produce the best reproduction of your design. Differences in pressure, the amount of ink, and feeding of the press, can dramatically affect the final product. Adjustments are made to produce the desired color and impression, and Doug is constantly monitoring the press to ensure consistency of each piece. That said, part of the beauty of the process, is that each is a unique print, so there can be some variation through every project. Depending on the project. each colour, blind impression and die cut require a separate pass through the press.

Loading paper onto the feed table

FINALISING YOUR PROJECT

When all of your pieces for the project have been printed and the ink is dry, we then cut the paper to final size in our guillotine. This is a precision process, and can be quite nerve wracking; many hours have gone into the production of these pieces! Once the project is trimmed, we then look over each piece to ‘QC’ (quality control) and prepare the package to courier to you.