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 :)