Five Types of Invitation Printing - Letterpress, Thermography, Foil, Offset, and Silk-Screen

by Jenny Bryde 13. November 2010 14:07

For the hypothetical duration of this blog post, let's all pretend that we all know exactly what we want on our idea wedding invitations.  You chose birds, and you, you over there chose a bold funky modern design, and someone just left this page who is going with a custom monogram.  The styles have been chosen.

Now that you've given thought to WHAT you want on your invitation suite, now you need to decide exactly HOW it will get there.  Applying your words and graphics to the invitation parts seems easy enough, but there are choices to be made here as well.  Various printing methods have been around for just about as long as marriage itself.  When you go to your stationer or printer, they should be able to give you a selection of print techniques based on what kind of look and product you are going for.  Some techniques are much more labor intensive and may require specialized skills, and thus cost more than others.  The five printing methods that I'm featuring today are readily available in the wedding invitation world, and vary in price, process, and product.

As always, you can click on the pictures to take you to where you can buy these fabulous invitations!

First up we have digital and offset printing.  While these two methods use different methods and materials, I'm going to schlub them together because they are probably two of the most commonly offered mass printing methods.  They are both very cost effective methods, and both can produce items that have multiple colors, fine detailing, and can be printed on many different types of paper as well as other items.  The low cost and endless possibilities make digital and offset printing very popular choices in printing. 

The next printing method for your consideration is foil printing or stamping in which metalic pigments are added to the ink to give the printing a sheen that can range from a slight glow to a shiny surface.  The pricing for a foil stamped invite is going to be slightly more expensive than digital or offset printing, but it is a really popular look while still being pretty cost efficient!


Another really popular method of having a wedding invtation printed is with thermography which is a technique that results in a raised layer of ink on the invitation that you can literally run your fingers over and feel.  One drawback to thermography is that generally, you are limited in number of colors because the paper has to be passed back through the machine for each color added, and with this printing process, it can basically melt the previously applied color.  While a little more pricey than a standard digital print, thermography still remains a very popular choice amongst brides and printers alike.


One of the most beautiful and sought after printing methods for wedding invites is letterpress where actual letter and art plates are rolled with ink and then pressed into luxuriously soft and thick paper.  This printing method is not readily available, and the price that picky brides and grooms pay for this lovely printing method is much higher than almost any other.  Costs can increase even further if multiple colors are needed for the finished invitation.  The artwork and lettering cannot be superfine as the plate-making method isn't suited to superfine detail.  Even with the drawbacks of pricing and limitaitons, many brides drool over the thought of letterpressed wedding invitations.


And finally, I'd like to submit for your printing approval the silk screened method of printing.  Essentially, the image or text is inked onto the paper through a fine silk screen which can be done in a machine for larger quantities or can even be done by hand by a silk screen artist. Often an aged look is achieved by a hand-pulled silk screening which some brides really love. 

So when you go to speak with your stationer or printing company, impress them with some of your new printing insider's lingo.  Investigate what you want as far as design, color, and budget to find the printing method that works best for you!

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Jenny Bryde | Stationery

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About the Blog

Hi!  Welcome to the blog!  My name is Jenny, and I am a Quad Cities bride to be.  Our goal for this blog is to share information on all things wedding including local vendors, new trends, and amazing inspiration.  Let us know if there is something you'd like to see on here!  

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