A Love Affair with Letterpress

I think all of us love to receive wedding invitations.  We received one this past fall for a 2nd cousin of mine, who was getting married just before New Years.  This particular family has always been creative and very craft-oriented, sending hand made Christmas cards, or sending something unique from their home state of Maine.  So, when we received the invitation to the wedding, I was both surprised at it’s uniqueness, yet not surprised, knowing how this family carefully creates things.  But what impressed me was that they used letterpress for the whole package – invitation, RSVP, maps, even the ceremony’s program.  It was truly unique and quite beautiful.


2015-01-07 14.12.292015-01-07 14.12.442015-01-07 14.12.58First of all, the invitation, which came in a packet that had the RSVP envelope, all printed in a gold ink with a nice cursive font. The packet itself had the invitation, the RSVP card, a small card that had a personal URL for the bride & groom, all placed into a custom die-cut pocket.  The invitation itself was done with letterpress on a double-thick cover and then mounted to the back of the pocket piece.  The invitation to the reception was done on a double thick felt cover, with a deep inset decorative gold debossed ornate pattern.  For me opening the invitation packet was a very “tactile” moment, where I not only wanted to look at the invitation package, but FEEL it as well. It struck a chord in me: as we become more sophisticated in digital media, and spend more time in front of our monitors or devices, we yearn for the TOUCH of a printed piece.  Letterpress, married with textured paper, allows us to have that, and more, with the ability to feel the depression where the type or design has been pressed into the sheet.


2015-01-07 14.14.07Arriving at the wedding venue (the beautiful Wayfarer’s Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California), you were encouraged to take another packet, this one having another die cut pocket made out of a metallic gold double-thick cover, with an announcement of the “Wedding Ceremony” printed in metallic gold on a double-thick cover (virtually all of the materials used for the entire wedding invitation package and ceremony program was on 130# or 160# double thick cover, of various finishes, and primarily in natural white).  The first piece listed the Wedding Party, the second the Order of Service, the 3rd a song sheet for the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts”, and then the final was a map to the reception location from the Chapel.

2015-01-07 14.14.32

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This was such a wonderful presentation, and so carefully crafted, that I kept it, not just simply to blog about it, but because it was such a wonderful example of tactile print.

And not only that, but for me, it indicated a return to this more unique and craft-oriented form of print.  As I have seen letterpress embraced, I hope that it will become even a more exciting area of growth.  People want print that not only informs, but is tactile, and can elicit emotion.  Letterpress can do that, and do it quite well.

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About John Prothero

John Prothero is a print professional with over 30 years experience in the print industry. Starting out as a driver delivering jobs, he worked in bindery, proofing, plating, traditional prepress (camera and stripping), scheduling, job planning, job management, account management and digital job production. His skills also run in the area of blog authorship, social media management, and lead generation and qualification of prospective clients. John is also a contributor to Rhode Island Creative Magazine, a digital publication that highlights the creative spirit of the state of Rhode Island. You can read their online issues at www.ricreativemag.com
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