Design for letterpress

How to Prepare a Design for Letterpress

File types

You should send us a vector based press-ready PDF file (with fonts embedded) and a preview image in jpg or tiff format. We also accept digital files in current versions of Illustrator or simple EPS files. We don’t accept Publisher, Word and Corel files.

Colors

You should prepare your design with Pantone spot colors. Don’t use lot of colors in your design. Best looking letterpress design is with 2-3 colors. Don’t use gradients, shadows and other special effects because in letterpress we can print only spot colors. Pantone colors on computer screens may vary based on the way your monitor is calibrated. For true accuracy use the Pantone Color Publication.

Artwork

Don’t use extremely thin lines, make lines at least a 0.25 point thick. Die cutting lines should be marked in 100% magenta. We strongly recommend to read our guidelines for double sided letterpress designs.

Large solids

Large solids are areas larger than 1.5 cm thick. Letterpress printed solids look different from offset printed solids. The paper tends to show through large solids, creating a slightly textured look that’s almost suede-like (we think this is a beautiful look by the way!). If you have a large solid and thin text in the same color, we’ll need to print the solid in a separate press run, to give the text a good deep impression and proper inking. Extra press runs do increase the cost of printing. Large solid areas can cause buckling of the paper, especially if using a thinner machine-made paper stock. You’ll also notice the depth of impression may appear less noticeable on really large letterpress solids—it doesn’t have the contrast that line-art or type would have.

For really large solid areas we would recommend to use silkscreen printing (check out this example).

Bitmaps

if you’re not working with vector-based art, we can work with bitmapped TIFF files as long as the resolution is high (900 dpi and more). Again, every color needs to be converted to black and white (no grays).