Choosing A Color For Your Letterpress Invitations

As if you don’t have enough choices to make, we’re now going to ask you to pick a color for your stationary project. If you’re getting married, it may seem like an obvious choice. Your colors are on-trend teaberry pink and ivory, making your ink color seem like an easy choice.

We’ve printed every ink color from teaberry pink to 4-color combinations, and in the process we’ve noticed a few constants. What always looks good? Simple, clean and classic. Keep it simple. The simpler the better, really. Letterpress printing is extremely versatile and can do a lot of cool things, but when you’re talking about invitations the simpler invites always look the best.

When in doubt, choose black. 

Black is boring, and was my absolute last choice when I first started printing. Why in the world would you choose black when there is fuschia to be mixed?! I changed my tune about 6 months into printing when a designer sent me her proof to be printed. I grabbed my ink knife and scooped a dollop of black ink on the press. It was pretty easy, I thought! No stupid scale and measuring PMS colors! As I checked the first print I actually took a step back. It was really, really beautiful. In a classic, simple way it was the most beautiful invitation I had ever printed.

To remember this important lesson, I printed an extra and hung it up behind the press. It’s still hanging there to remind me that simpler is better.

Stick to two colors or less. 

In almost all cases, one or two colors look best for wedding invitations. I know you will comment or send me an example where a 4 color invitation looks perfect, and you may be right. But in nearly all cases, the one or two color invitations look the best. I think this is because letterpress paper is such a show-stopper, so more than 2 colors can take away from the beauty of paper.

Think of letterpress paper as one element in your invitation. It’s fluffy yet sturdy, and it will grab your audience’s attention. It’s a strong element in your invitation suite. If you choose too many colors, it will distract from the beauty and simplicity of the paper.

The impression is another element of your invitation. When someone opens your invitation, they are drawn to the paper, then notice the craftmanship and timeless look of the impression. If you add too many colors to the mix, it can be distracting.

Darker is better

Not always, but in most cases a rich, deep color tends to jump off the page better than a lighter color. Since letterpress inks are translucent, lighter colors don’t always do that well with readability.

If your wedding colors do not have a deep hue to them, we typically urge clients to choose black or dark grey. I’ve also seen a deep brown look really amazing.

Give us a PMS color, a paint chip, or a swatch from your bridesmaid’s dress

Letterpress inks us the Pantone swatch colors (uncoated), so we can match nearly any color you can think of. Most brides who want a custom color bring us a swatch of their bridesmaid’s dress, or a paint swatch from the hardware store that matches what they are envisioning. We’ve also matched ink to paper, so the ink can match the RSVP envelopes. There are so many choices!

Letterpress does not do well with metallics, unfortunately. The paper absorbs the metallic, making it look dull and boring. Gold looks brown and silver looks grey. If you’re looking for a true metallic, foil printing is the best bet (we foil print too! It’s super fun!).

Large printed areas

Large solid areas of ink, or even chunky letters with a large surface area, can look weathered with letterpress. Using a light ink color may make this hard to read, or it may enhance the look you’re going for – keep this in mind when choosing a design. As we discussed earlier, letterpress inks are translucent. This typically doesn’t have much of an effect on a print, as you won’t notice it with a scripty font printed in black. When you have a large inked area, however, you will likely see some paper show through. I’ve heard this described as a denim or weathered look.

Since the inks are translucent, you can also layer inks to make a 3rd color. It’s a pretty cool look when designed properly.

Not sure what color to choose? Drop us a message and we’ll help you decide :)




The Lancaster Letterpress Printers Fair

Last weekend we had the opportunity to attend the Lancaster Letterpress Printers Fair at the Heritage Press Museum at Building Character.


Did you know a man by the name Johann Gutenberg is given credit for the invention of printing movable type? This took place during the 1450’s in Mainz, Germany. From moment on letterpress printing spread across Europe and was established in the United States in 1636 in Massachusetts.


This was such an exciting weekend event because we just bought a new press! A Golding Pearl to be exact! And what’s even funnier is that we met Randy Hess who’s friend would have bought the press if we wouldn’t have! Small world!

Take a look at how cool the Heritage Press Musuem is!






Everyone in the letterpress community is so friendly, but a big shout out goes to John Barrett from Letterpress Things and Randy Hess for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.

Letterpress things is a great company that we buy our paint, and supplies from! We also bought a few piece of type from Megan Zettlemoyer from Typothecary Letterpress. 26press does a lot of custom design work so we usually use polymer plates, so there is really no need for us to have hundreds of typefaces on hand at the studio.

A few other big names there showing their work were:

Laura Korzon from Moxie House Paper Goods


and Jill Cypher and Ray Nichols from Lead Graffiti

All in all the Lancaster Letterpress Printers Fair was a great opportunity for us to meet local and non-local presses and share information! To end such a fabulous day we bought a few items from Annie Schwartz from Sunshine Art+Design. If you ever want to sell any of your products she is the girl to go to!



Next year 26press hopes to be a vendor at this event! Until then happy pressing!


Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Let me start by saying I am not an etiquette expert. My friends say I have tact, but it usually depends on my mood. When it was time to get married, I did some things by the book (we got married in a church), and other traditions I left by the wayside (we did an online registry for our honeymoon). Still, wedding invitation etiquette is something you can’t ignore, as your grandmother and BFF alike will be receiving them in the mail.

In a nutshell, most things go when it comes to wedding invitation etiquette. Use your judgement, and when in doubt, stick to tradition. Always include first and last names of both you and your fiance, and specifics such as ceremony and reception times and locations. Reply information should be on a separate card. Never, ever, include information about your registry.


If you and your fiance are forking over most of the bill, but your parents and the in-laws have contributed, it’s polite to include their names. My favorite wording for wedding invitations is:

Mr. and Mrs. Trotter [bride’s parents]


Mr. and Mrs. Hanlin [groom’s parents]

invite you to the wedding of their children…

Nobody gets their feelings hurt, nobody is left out, and in the end, everyone’s happy. Which will make you happy.

If your parents are hosting (read: footing the entire bill), then by all means, their name should be front and center. It is all about you, but without them your invitations may not have been printed in the first place.

Formal wedding invitation etiquette says that there should be no abbreviations, except for “Mr.” and “Mrs.”. Other salutations, such as “Doctor”, may be abbreviated if it is followed by a very long name. If your fiance is an M.D., or D.D.S., they are traditionally not included on the invitation, but I say include it if it will hurt his ego to leave it off. Nicknames, however, need to be left off. Even if nobody knows his name is “William”, do not include “Bill” on the invitation.

Some brides prefer “honour” and others prefer “honor”. In our experience, most use “honor”. Both are considered formal. If you’re having an outside wedding, and are worried about rain, then a separate (but small) card should be included with your invitation suite with the backup plan.

Informal wedding invitation etiquette is much more lax. Nicknames, abbreviations and excluding titles are the norm. Just because an invitation is informal doesn’t mean it doesn’t look special. The wedding invitation should still have the essentials, such as location, names and dates. And again, under no circumstances should the registry be mentioned in your invitation suite. Fun touches, such as the bride and groom’s thumbprints, can be included and still look chic.

You should send your save the dates six to eight months in advance. If you’re doing a destination wedding, get them out up to a year in advance. Vacations are typically scheduled far in advance, and their bank accounts will appreciate the head’s up. Your actual wedding invitations should go out eight weeks in advance. Some rules say six weeks, but unless all of your guests are in town, people will need the time to prepare to get to your locale.

Your RSVP deadline should be about two weeks before your wedding date.

Still confused? Every couple’s situation is unique, and we’ve seen it all. Let us help you with your wording and create your one of a kind piece!


Wedding Invitation Trends for 2014

2014 wedding dresses have hit the bridal runway, making high glam and total romantics giddy with excitement. Color also played a role, with Vera Wang and Oscar de la Renta showing off surprising colors. Below are the top trends in invitation designs for 2014.


1. Patterns still rule
Creating a theme for your wedding will always be in style, but the chic theme for 2014 includes bold, graphic prints that translate from your invitations to the ballroom. Couples will take the pattern and translate it to the tablecloths, their dress, or onto their menus.

2. Ditch the black ink
While the LBD will always rule, on your wedding day choose a classic grey for your invitations. The color is sophisticated and fresh, and isn’t as harsh as black.

3. Color, color, color
If Oscar de la Renta can create a pink or blue wedding dress, you can certainly add color into your invitations. Try a light pink paper to match your daring dress, or be bold and choose a fun inner envelope color to mix up your invitation suite. A navy blue envelope with grey lettering is sophisticated and embraces a bit of the trend.

4. Add a little glitz
High glam is definitely a trend for 2014, and nothing says glam like foil stamping. Used sparingly – for the couples name only, for example – this technique can make the words jump off the page.

5. Blind embossing
Blind embossing isn’t a new technique, but it’s definitely a winner in 2014. Blind embossing is when an image, pattern or text is pressed into the paper without using ink. The results can be dramatic, and fit well with the high glam theme. A thick, soft letterpress paper is a must for this technique.

Letterpress Wedding Printing

Letterpress is a very old form of printing, meaning it’s a highly inefficient form of getting the job done. The inefficiencies make each invitation unique, and create beautiful, crisp impressions. It also means each invitation is printed by hand, one-by-one. This labor of love is what causes the price per piece to be so high.

Letterpress doesn’t work well for large areas of solid color, however this form of printing does lend well to ornate script.

Letterpress printing is obviously a classic choice for invitations, but it also can create a modern wedding invite suite with funky fonts, unique patterns and blind embossing (not using ink to make an impression on the paper).

Historically, wooden type was placed together to create a “plate”, and then each paper was pressed into the type. Now, we usually use plastic molds to create some pretty awesome patterns, type and arrangements. Anything we can dream up in Photoshop can be transformed to your Letterpress Wedding Invitation.

Old-school printers scoff at the letterpress impression, as it was seen as the incorrect technique. We now prefer that deep impression, as it gives it the true “letterpress” look.

Choosing your paper is one of the most important aspects of your print job. Crane’s Lettra is a classic choice, but there are many more out there that offer the soft, luxurious touch that is essential to a deep impression. Choose a paper that stands well on it’s own. It should be both sturdy and soft. Most print shops will have samples they can show you in a 5×7. Paper will feel much more dense in a small chip, so it should be felt in the full size before choosing.

Letterpress Printing can also be done on envelopes, and is a nice way to tie in your entire wedding theme. Return addresses and your pattern, monogram or theme can be placed on the outside envelope, giving guests a feel for what’s to come. In the photo above, you can see the letterpress printing we did on Dustin and Erica’s wedding envelopes!