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 :)




Wedding Coasters

They say the devil is in the details, and I couldn’t agree more. An invitation is just an invitation, until it’s wrapped in a lovely band and sealed with a monogrammed sticker. The same goes with coasters at an event. Whether it’s a wedding, a restaurant, or a baby shower, coasters are just plain fun.


You should absolutely eat dessert first

Letterpress coasters have a vintage and sophisticated look to them. The matte finish adds an air of elegance, even when the coaster says something silly.

We recently had an aunt contact us, and she was looking for a coaster set for her niece. She wants a cocktail recipe on the coaster, which is a perfect addition to the wedding bar. We’ve also seen Mad Libs, monograms and witty sayings. We’ve found that most people quietly shove them into their purse instead of using them on their cocktails. And that’s okay by us :)

Are you looking for a hostess gift, a baby shower invitation, or a great addition to a wedding? Contact us today to get started on your perfect party coasters.

Tips For Proofing Your Wedding Invitations

Proofing your wedding invitations is about as fun as watching paint dry. While not all that exciting, it’s important to make sure that the details are right. After the job has started, it can be really costly to make a change, so be sure everything is correct. Below are a few tips to make this task a little less stressful! We recommend going through these one-by-one, and taking a few days to complete this process:

  • Print out the proofs we send – it’s much easier to spot a misspelling on a printed piece
  • Ensure you’re looking at the latest version we’ve sent – often times we will go through one or two rounds of revisions
  • Have your fiance look the pieces over
  • Have your mother or MIL look the pieces over
  • Have one of your married friends look it over
  • Double check that the address to the church and reception [if applicable] are correct. Don’t just go off memory, actually Google the location
  • Check the contract you’ve made with both the ceremony and the reception – are the times correct on the invitation?
  • If you’re having ceremony or menu cards printed, you may want to request that these are printed closer to the time of the wedding. We’ve seen these items change closer to the Big Day (A bridesmaid can’t make it from Australia, or the venue stops offering scallops). There’s usually only a small charge to complete these at a later time, and it’s much less costly than having to have them re-printed.
  • Do you have any last minute color recommendations? We’re happy to match the color to your bridesmaid’s dresses, your bouquet, or anything else you can think of. Letterpress is printed using uncoated Pantone colors, in the off chance you have access to a swatch book. You can also send us a fabric swatch, flower or paint swatch in the mail, and we’re happy to match colors. We do not recommend sending us colors via digital files, as the colors can be wildly different from computer to computer. Color choice does not need to be finalized prior to approving the final proof, however we usually begin production roughly 4 days after you give us the go-ahead, so now is a good time to drop us something in the mail.
  • Ensure your return address is correct. If you’re planning on moving immediately after the wedding, we’ve had some brides include their parent’s address instead.
  • Does the address on the RSVP envelope include the correct address?
  • Is the return address on the main envelope correct?
  • Are both parent’s names spelled correctly? [if applicable]
  • If you’re doing a directions card, it’s a good idea to have a bridesmaid/groomsmen follow the directions, step-by-step, to ensure the directions are clear
  • We typically assemble all of the invitations and put them in their envelopes. If you would like us to place a stamp on the RSVP envelope, now is a good time to start thinking about that. There isn’t an additional charge for this; we’ll just need reimbursed for the stamps.
  • Is the name of the church spelled properly? It’s a good idea to Google the church name, as you typically put the formal name of the church on the invitation
  • Same with the reception – make sure it’s the formal name and not a common known nickname for the venue

While this isn’t an all-encompasing list, I hope it gives you a good starting point to proof your wedding invitations. If you have any questions, please contact us!

Birthday Fun!


We took a break from ink and Illustrator to have a bit of fun last weekend. It was Ashley’s birthday, and her mom flew in to surprise her. I’ve never seen her happier (except maybe that one time she scored this super cool font for free)! Happy birthday, Ashley! I feel blessed and grateful you’ve come on this journey with me!

Artsy DIY Gifts

Ashley is always thinking of fun ideas as giveaways, but I think she recently upped the ante. Her most recent gift to her designer friends included a handmade coaster (super easy – I’ve put instructions below), a few miscellaneous letterpress cards, and an inexpensive sketch book. Total spent: Less than $5 per set. Satisfaction of receivers: 100%.

The coasters are inexpensive tiles you buy at Lowes or Home Depot. They are about 14 cents each, but at our store you had to buy a box of 50. We then nabbed some thin cork, which you can pick up at Amazon (or probably any craft store), for about $8. Take Gorilla Glue, and add a very small dab (that stuff expands like crazy) to attach the cork to the bottom of the tile. This will protect your table.

Let that dry completely, and then take Acrylic paint, some brushes, and paint away! Since these were going to artists, Ashley painted a Pantone color on each and marked them with permanent marker. Use masking tape to mark off the areas. You will need to make lots of very thin layers with the paint, or you’ll end up with a mess.

After they dry completely (which will likely be 24-48 hours), seal it with a clear aerosol sealer. We picked up ours up at Lowes for about $5 a can.

The sketchbook was on sale for about $2 at Michaels, thanks to doubling up on coupons, and we had the letterpress cards laying around. You could pick out fun stationary and it would work as well.



Letterpress Gifts


I’ve seen good DJs, bad bands, and one kick ass reception with an exceptional playlist on an iPod. For every success story, there’s a major fail for wedding music. You absolutely need to see your main act prior to purchasing. The music, more than anything, will either keep people dancing or send them packing at 8pm.

I hired a friend that happened to be a DJ in Atlanta. We wanted him at the wedding, so we paid his expenses plus a bit more, and he made the 10 hour drive up. I saw him DJ for a wedding in back-country Virginia for a mutual friend, and he was absolutely amazing. We were rocking well into the night, and everyone had a blast. Usually a good DJ at a bar will equate to a good wedding DJ, but I would absolutely never hire someone just because I heard them play a few techno tracks at the local club. What’s good for the girlfriends won’t necessarily get the mother-in-law to let loose.

And while I love my DJ choice, I admire the work one bride took to take her wedding up a notch. She had a soloist, singing with a soulful voice, belting out an incredible piece as her father escorted her down the aisle. It added a little something that I haven’t seen at a wedding since. It was, quite frankly, straight from the movies. I don’t have a video of it, but it replays over and over in my head.

I’m a little obsessed with The Voice, and Matthew Schuler’s rendition of Hallelujah has been on repeat for more days than I care to admit. I’m not sure if that song is depressing or uplifting, but either way I would be a happy girl if he could serenade me while my hubby and I drank bubbly right after praying over supper.

An established singer will cost you big bucks, but you can also scout local liberal arts schools for undiscovered talent looking to make a couple hundred bucks for performing a few songs. The more people involved (read: a large band), the more it will cost you, so sticking to a soloist may be the best route for you. If you bring them in for just one or two songs, it can also save you.

The video quality on this stinks, but here’s a bit of inspiration. Hallelujah, my friends!


Wedding Color Trends 2014

We are in full swing for 2014 invitations, and we’ve seen some really unique color combos come through our door.

One of the most unique color combos I’ve seen lately is Turquoise, Peach and Grey. I was inspired on so many levels, and even told Ashley I’d take a stab at one of the designs. I immediately ordered the grey paper sampler from our vendor and got to work. The color combo reminds me of this room, with an ultra-cool, eclectic couple drinking double espressos in the corner. The groom, when asked to describe his relationship with his oh-so-cute fiance, used the adjective “saucy”. I think that sums this color combo up nicely.

I basically want to live in this room. All the time.

I basically want to live in this room. All the time. And then wrap it up and make an invitation out of it.

Blue is really big right now, and I don’t mean feel-good, pastel blue. Bright, bold colors with really cool combos of grey with a hint of mustard, green, or pink are definitely a wedding color trend for 2014. I’m still semi-obsessed with chevron, so I think it goes well, but I’ve also noticed a lot of stripes. My favorite? Bold blue with grey and pale pink. It’s classic, yet still on-trend for next year. I’m envisioning a romantic night, with a band, and a flowy gown. Beautiful!

Bold blue + Soft Pink = Heaven

Bold blue + Soft Pink = a lovely vase and pretty trendy wedding colors

I’ve always thought of yellow as an accent color. You know, Grey, White with a hint of yellow. For 2014, I’ve seen a few gals buck the norm and put the flashy color front and center. Typically accented with red and white, this color gets noticed. I can see a few of my eclectic friends pulling this look off. The same friends that wear bright red lipstick with their sweats and somehow pull it off. Think New Girl. If you’re adventurous, or just love yellow, feel free to let it shine. 

You can't argue - it makes a statement

The chick off New Girl could totally pull this off.

I love a good green. Kiwi green, the color of grass in the morning with dew on it, and even 80’s neon green – i love them all. I’ve seen a really cool trend emerging where brides use various shades of green as their wedding color. This is probably my favorite color scheme of 2014. I love it because there’s about a billion ways you can pull this color off. Dark green is sultry, while pale green is sweet. Hot green will have you dance the night away, while grey-green will add a sophisticated touch. It’s an androgynous color, so your man will be thrilled he doesn’t have to sport a hot pink tie. I’ve seen it accented with kraft paper brown, and I think that’s a nice tie-in to the overall look.

green shade wedding

I’ll end the post with something to consider: Be careful if you’re choosing a pure neutral color palette. Sure, there are amazing photos on Pinterest, but those are staged by professionals. Being a minimalist myself, I’m drawn to neutrals. But too many times I see a washed out look that just doesn’t mesh. If done well, it’s simply stunning. If done average – it’s pretty boring.


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 Packaging

As I was sifting through the normal bills today, I came across a little gem. A colorful little envelope, with cute handwriting, caught my eye. I knew I was in for a treat as I read a colorful offer to attend a Halloween party.

Wedding invitation packaging gives invitations that special feel to them. Are envelope liners necessary? Absolutely not. Adorable and irresistible? You betcha. While the design of the invitation gets a lot of attention (and rightfully so), the details are the icing on the cake.

Invitation by Shanon Medley

Invitation by Shanon Medley

Invitation bands are on trend, like the kraft paper band in the picture above. I especially love the twine bow, and the way it gives the whole set a country chic feel. Plus, the cost to add this is minimal, and it can really change the entire feel of your invitaiton.

The invitation suite doesn’t need to be filled with cutesy additions, if that’s not your style. The set we created for Jason and Katie was simplistic, and the wrapped address stamp was enough to pull the set together.


Colored baker’s twine is one of my personal favorites, and Ashley has to continually remind me that it does not belong on everything. Luckily, I trust her judgement :)

Think about the delivery of your invitation, as well as the details that are inside. Delivered in a boxed set, or an unusual sized envelope, an invitation can be the bright spot in a sea of rectangular envelopes. Unique handwriting, or a talented calligrapher, will ensure that guests will be giddy to open it up and see the treasure inside.

I'd give my right arm for handwriting like this. Design by GreySnailPress

I’d give my right arm for handwriting like this. Design by GreySnailPress

I’ve also seen coasters, tags, stickers and bookmarks that deliver a creative punch. It’s just the little something extra that pulls the entire look of your day together, and gives that invitation that extra something that’s needed.



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