Invitation étiquette- Types of Printing

Invitation étiquette- Types of Printing

Different types of Printing Techniques for wedding invitations:

Blind embossing

Price Level: $$$

Embossing (see below) without the addition of ink or foil. Letters and images appear raised but colorless. Blind embossing is normally used for details of the invitation like borders and monograms, but not for entire invitation wording because the letters can be hard to see.

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Digital Printing

Price Level: $
Digital Printing is the least expensive technique and an extremely popular printing method. Digital presses usually use toner-based inks where no printing plates are involved. This mean invitations are printed directly from a digital file on the computer so there is a minimal set-up cost. With that, essentially you are only paying for paper stock used plus ink. Digital printing does have limits: papers must be able to withstand heat and to go through a curved or straight path in the printer, which means you are limited in paper weight and thickness. Digital printers transfer the four colors (CMYK) to the paper simultaneously through a single pass through the printer. This method results in a flat image without any texture.

Luxury Wedding Invitation Lace Encased 5


Price Level: $$$

A printing process that uses two die to raise letters and images on the paper’s surface. The paper is impressed with etched designs and words to produce beautifully subtle details. This technique is found in a lot of more traditional and catalogue style invitations.

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Price Level: $$$$
Engraving is the most expensive printing process and is a mark of distinction and quality. It is ideal for fine detail or small type and produces the crispest results. It can be done either with or without ink, when no ink is used it is called embossing.

The process of engraving is the most labour intensive and begins with preparing a copper plate with recessed areas. These areas are filled with ink and each piece of paper is fed into the press which then presses the plate onto the paper. The pressure of the plate onto the paper creates raised and embossed impressions that can be felt by touch on the reverse side of the paper.

Traditionally, a tissue overlay always accompanied engraved invitations to avoid smudging; though this is no longer necessary, the tradition lives on as an option.


engrave printing

Foil Stamping

Price Level: $$$
Foil stamping literally involves pressing foil onto the paper. Metal plates are custom carved with the invitation design that is then fitted into the press and carefully pressed onto each invitation individually. Each type of foil has distinctive qualities and interacts differently with each paper stock.


Laser cutting

Price Level: $$$

A process that uses a laser to cut out words and design details on invitations — it sometimes leaves barely noticeable burn marks on the back of the paper. When used on metal it can be used to etch works or cut out details.

Laser cut metal invite


Price Level: $$$
Letterpress is the oldest form of printing, dating back to 1440 when mass printing was first revolutionized. In recent years, it has returned as a popular and nostalgic style for stationary because it yields a unique and handmade look. The process for letterpress is similar to that of foil stamping, but instead of pressing metal foil onto the paper, ink is stamped. A metal plate is inked by a rubber roller and then individually pressed onto each piece of paper. This form of printing leaves the text indented on the invitation, creating a debossed effect which is the opposite of the raised lettering that engraving and thermography create.


Offset Printing

Price Level: $
Offset printing is the highest quality flat printing process available and next to Digital printing technique, this is the least expensive where the paper is run through a high-speed offset press that simply transfers the ink onto it. Unlike digital printing, offset printing can be used on any type of paper with any type of weight. It prints a single color at a time, so invitations must be completely dried and the press itself must be cleaned and reset before passing the invitation through the machine again for each added color. The text can be left flat as it is printed, or thermographed for a different effect.

Blue and white wedding invitation close up ink and elegance

Screen printing

Price Level: $$

A process that involves a mesh stencil (the “screen”) being pressed against material — generally fabric. Ink is then pressed through the porous mesh onto the material with a roller.

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Price Level: $$
Thermography is a raised ink printing process that looks very similar to engraving but is much less costly. This is a popular way to achieve a classic engraved look on a budget. With this process, a special powdered resin is sprinkled on the freshly-printed letters, sticking to the wet ink. The paper is then heated, reacting with the ink and resin and creating a raised effect (similar to that of engraving). Depending on which powder is used, the result is either matte, shiny, or metallic, each can subtly change the color as well.



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  1. what printer is used in foil stamping?

    1. It is not a printer, it is a press. The foil is actually pressed into the paper with a metal plate.


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