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For out of town customers:
What is the difference in the various print methods?
Most of our custom projects are printed in one of the following methods:
Digital or Flat Print
Engraving or Blind Embossing
Letterpress or Foil
Digital or flat printing produces a smooth image on the paper that has no raised feel or impression. It can be beneficial from a cost standpoint in smaller print runs, or can present the ability to print multiple colors (like a photograph) in a single printing pass for cost efficency. Digital printing can be executed on many paper types including one and two ply options, but certain specialty papers are not compatible with digital printing. Another benefit of most digital printing is the quicker turn around time.
Thermography printing was invented to replicate the raised feel often associated with engraving, but the newer procedure eliminates the cost of a copper engraving plate. In thermography, a card is printed with a special flat ink, then dusted with a resin that is heat sealed to the ink surface, providing the raised impression. While thermography resembles engraving, some shortcomings of this process are that the inks are not opaque (and therefore can not be printed on dark papers) and there can be some color variation in the inks.
Engraving is a printing method where a copper plate is "engraved" and carved with the image to be printed. The plate is inked and placed on top of the paper, and pressure is applied from beneath the paper to push it up into the plate. This provides a raised feel to the printing and also the hallmark "bruising" that customers may see on the reverse side of an engraved image. While engraving can be a little more costly than thermography, the benefits of engraving are that the inks are opaque and more consistent color on a variety of light and dark papers, and especially the metallic inks are a brighter, truer metallic color with engraving. Most companies return the copper engraving plate to their customer for keepsake purposes and possible reprinting. Blind embossing (raised print with no color) is a process very similar to engraving that results in a raised image, but the plate is not inked and therefore the image has no color. Some companies return blind embossing plates for future use and some do not.
Letterpress is an age-old printing process, much like engraving, that has remerged in popularity in recent years. Almost like the reverse process of engraving, with letterpress printing a plate is created that has a protruding image and the plate is pressed into the paper from above, leaving a depressed image into the paper. Because the visual depth of the impressed image is desirable, letterpress papers are often very plush, soft, and thick to show off that impression. Letterpress printing and papers have an artisan feel which is one reason customers often fall in love with this option. While some companies may offer letterpress printing on smooth finish or thin papers, most customers are disappointed with these results as they can not see the deep letterpress impression they expect. Foil printing is very closely related to letterpress printing, the procedure is similar but a foil sheet of material is inserted when printing, however the quality and colors can vary greatly from vendor to vendor.
How can I "touch and feel" the paper?
Even if we are working long distance with a customer, our first preference is to meet with you in person. If you are within driving distance to our Jackson, Mississippi studio that is wonderful, or we do satellite appointments in various areas. At an appointment we can walk you through the different types of paper and printing methods in person. However, for our long-distance customers, our procedure is to do an initial consultation with the client to get a feel for their inspiration and also their budget expectations. At that point we will prepare some options for you and send photographs of our recommendations. At that point, if you are ready to move forward, we will obtain a deposit toward your project to get your proof started (with your wording, etc) and we will "check out" samples to you that will help make your decision. Any samples that are returned in 30 days will be invoiced to your account at $25 per sample.
For all customers:
What do wedding invitations cost?
We often chuckle when asked this question because it's like asking a car dealer what a black car costs! But we know for most brides they are just trying to get a handle on what they should allow for this part of their wedding budget and over the years we have honed in on a tier of options that can help brides understand the range of options.
When you fill out our questionnaire, we ask you to indicate if you would like to spend $2-$4 per invitation set, $5-$9 per invitation set, or $10 and up per invitation set. Those categories represent good benchmarks in our custom design options. A $2 to $4 set would probably include thermography or flat printing on a nice card, and a basic reply card for quantity of 100. You might have to do some leg work like hand-write your return address to stay at the bottom of this price tier. A $5-$9 per invitation set would probably represent an engraved or thermography invitation from a brand you recognize like Crane or William Arthur, and depending on your quantity, the reply set may also be able to be included for that budget. A $10 and up invitation would open doors to more of our artisan letterpress printing processes like high-end letterpress and foil manufacturers, and premium treatments like envelope liners, edge treatments, and thicker card stocks.
What does wedding invitation postage cost?
How long does it take to produce wedding invitations?
What are calligraphy options and what does it cost?
What if I need to order more wedding invitations?
Why do I need extra envelopes?
Do my invitations come with tissue?
Is assembly included in the cost of my invitations?
Why would I choose engraving over thermography or vice versa?
Any additional suggestions when ordering foil printing?