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Wedding Invitation Option Q&A: Print Methods
What is the difference between letterpress, digital, offset and engraving?
Each of these print methods results in a different result, at a different cost.
- Letterpress is an artisan printing method that dates back to the 15th century. Your type or image will be indented into the paper. The letterpress process uses a raised surface of a printing plate or type to create the impression. The depth of the impression varies depending upon the thickness and softness of the paper that you use.
- Digital offset (flat) printing refers to printing from a digitally-based image directly - no plates are needed to print the image. Instead, the digital file can be printed directly using large format and/or high volume laser or inkjet printers. Digital printing allows for on demand printing, short turn around, and even a modification of the image (variable data) with each impression.
- Traditional offset (flat) printing is a printing technique in which the inked image is transferred or offset to a rubber blanket, and then to the printing surface (paper). Offset printing produces consistently sharp and clean images and type.
- Engraving cuts a design into a hard, flat surface (usually copper) by cutting grooves into it either manually or by dipping the treated plate in acid. The plate is covered in ink, excess ink is wiped off, and then the paper is placed on the plate and compressed. When the paper is lifted away from the plate, the ink has been transferred from the plate to the paper, and in doing so raises the type or image above the surface of the paper.