Wedding Stationery Trends: Letterpress by Luca Henriksen
Marriage may be an ancient institution and, yes, wedding traditions abound, but the way we choose to celebrate the union between two people is no less subject to trends coming and going than any other aspect of human culture.
Destination weddings, wedding websites, and adult-only weddings are among the top trends of the last decade, according to Betches.com, while The Knot asserts that, among other things, we can expect a lot of micro weddings and inclusive menus in 2020.
In the wedding stationery niche, we also experience the waxing and waning of various trends. The wedding invitation is a guest’s first impression of a coming wedding, and many couples choose to keep the wedding stationery as a memento of their special day. It’s no wonder, then, that they care a great deal about getting it right!
From envelope liners to watercolour to gold foil, wedding stationery designers are always coming up with new ways to make couples’ wedding stationery uniquely theirs.
But one recent trend in wedding stationery is surprisingly old: that of letterpress-printed wedding stationery.
What is Letterpress Wedding Stationery?
Letterpress printing is a type of relief printing whereby ‘many copies of an image are produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper.’ (Britannica). Its invention in the fifteenth century revolutionised publishing as books and newspapers could now be mass-produced relatively easily.
With the development of modern offset printing, which is both cheaper and faster, letterpress printing fell out of commercial use in the twentieth century. However, though no longer used in the mainstream publishing world for economical reasons, letterpress printing has seen a revival as an artisanal form.
Examples of items produced using this method are business cards, greetings cards, gift tags – and, yes, wedding stationery.
What is the Appeal of Letterpress Wedding Stationery?
With computer printing at the disposal of most ordinary folks in the western world – if not at home, then at the library or via professional printing shops – what is the appeal of letterpress-printed wedding stationery? After all, the process of setting the type is a lengthy one, not to mention the need for specialist equipment, both of which affect the cost. So, what gives?
With over twenty years of experience in printing and publishing, we think we have some idea!
Tactile. This goes primarily for the person doing the printing, yes – the weight and feel of the type, the rhythm of the press – but the mechanics of letterpress printing also means that each letter or symbol has a physical representation: it is, quite literally, pressed into the paper. Run your fingers across the print, and you’ll be able to feel the indentations. Even if they don’t do the printing themselves, many people appreciate this aspect, especially as more and more of our everyday lives happens in front of a screen.
Uniquely imperfect. Unlike with modern printers, where you expect one print to be indistinguishable from the next, the letterpress printer has no such expectations. In letterpress, you are likely to see subtle differences between otherwise identical prints. This might be in the definition of the text, the strength of the ink, the precise placement of the text, a stray spot of ink. Little imperfections that make each print one of a kind.
Craftmanship. Many are also attracted to letterpress prints for how it represents real and timeless craftmanship, and they appreciate their wedding stationery that much more for it, especially when combined with high-quality stock and ink.
What the Smallprint Company offers
At the Smallprint Company, we love typography and design! We have combined it with our commercial experience to explore the world of traditional letterpress printing, using antique presses, original type, beautiful papers and hand-mixed inks.
We have wedding stationery solutions to suit every need and budget:
Bespoke designs. We work with you to create the design, using your own ideas or one of our designs as a starting point. When you are sure you are happy with it, we hand-set and -print it, using one of our antique letterpresses. If you are keen to get your hands dirty, you can also design and print your own wedding stationery in one of our bespoke Wedding Stationery Workshops.
Ready-made designs. For the smaller budget, we offer a range of ready-made designs. These are digitally printed for speed and budget but offer the same great design and level of attention to detail, including high-quality paper stock.
Digital downloads (coming soon!). Download a full suite of beautifully designed wedding stationery, ready for you to insert your own details. Let us print it, do it at home, or organise your own printing elsewhere.
Planning your wedding? Come and meet us! The Smallprint Company will be at the Derby Museums Wedding Fair alongside a range of other wedding suppliers. The event is held at the Museum and Art Gallery on the Wardwick on 26 January 2020 at 11 am 3:30 pm.