LETTERPRESS

Letterpress printing is a centuries old printing technique, and involves having plates made to be used on a letterpress machine, a large and heavy piece of equipment that "stamps" the image or text onto the paper, like a large rubber stamp, only with lots more pressure. It is still a very manual process, with the paper being hand fed, and lots of checking for pressure, color, etc. Softer and thicker papers need to be used for this type of printing. With letterpress, an indentation is left into the paper that can be felt and seen up-close, giving this method a luxurious look and feel. Only one color of ink can be done at a time, and each color needed requires it’s own plates to be made, which is why the price can jump up from one color to two color - it is printed twice with separate plates and ink cleaning in between each run. Letterpress printing can be combined with foil, offset, or digital printing to get just the look you’re wanting.

Benefits:
Classic and traditional method to print
Great way to add texture to your piece
Best option if you want a substantially thick invitation

Things to Consider:
Double sided printing requires extra thick stock
Longer turn around time

Cost: $$


FOIL STAMPING

Fairly similar to letterpress printing, but instead of ink, foil sheets are used and the hot dies press the foil into the paper. Again, these require a separate copper plate for each run, and are usually done best in small amounts, like text, flourishes or borders.

Benefits:
Great way to add a pop of metallic to your invitation
Multiple color foils available
Lighter foil colors make a great statement on darker stocks

Things to Consider:
Foil plates are required for each color used
The turn around time is similar to letterpress printing

Cost: $$$


OFFSET

Good to use when letterpress isn't an option, but still want the specific color matching capabilities, which is why it's great to use in addition to letterpress. Individual colors are used, so plates still need to be made to print; so going up in colors can be costly. It has a smooth and crisp finish, but can be done on letterpress stock.

Benefits:
Best when wanting to color match
Crisp and smooth look and feel

Things to Consider: 
Slightly longer turn around time than digital

Cost: $$


DIGITAL

This is the most affordable way to print, and the price doesn’t change if you have multiple colors in your palette. It is very similar to using an at-home inkjet printer, where the four ink colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) are used to create an endless spectrum.

Benefits:
Quick turn around time
Best option for printing colored graphics (think watercolors, photos or illustrations)
Can use a wide range of paper
Proofs are available

Things to Consider:
Light colored stocks need to be used
Printing over 130# paper stock

Cost: $