Are letterpress inks different that other inks?

Not necessarily. Letterpress inks can be used in other printing processes, like offset printing. What is important to remember is that all printing inks are translucent to a certain degree, and that the paper color will always affect the perceived color of the printed ink. For example, printing white ink on a black paper will produce a bluish or greyish white, rather than an opaque, solid white.

What kinds of ink do you offer?

We print with both rubber- and oil-based inks. Using these bases, we mix our own Pantone formulations. We special-order metallic and fluorescent inks on an as-needed basis.

Can you print my job in CMYK?

No, not if you’re referring to the offset printing process, where different values of cyan, magenta, yellow and black are combined on press to produce a full-color result. We print in what’s referred-to as “spot color,” one color on press at a time. Make sure you specify an exact Pantone color for your ink selections. We can, however, print in process spot color... that is to say, 4 (or more) color printing where each color is a specified spot-color, rather than a CMYK build. It’s time consuming and requires a significant plating budget, but can look pretty stunning.

What are spot colors?

A “spot color” is used to distinguish one-color-at-a-time printing from process printing; a spot color is one solid color of ink printed in one independent press run. We mix our ink to the Pantone + UNCOATED formula guide specifications. *Please Note* that colors render very differently on screen (digitally) than the actual printed color, so if you’re going to spec a Pantone color, be sure to check out how it looks on paper in an actual Pantone + Uncoated formula guide.

Can I specify a custom ink color?

Yes, of course. All inks need to be specified from the Pantone Plus formula guide. We can mix the majority of the inks listed in the guide; some, especially metallic and fluorescent inks, will incur an additional fee, which we can determine and inform you about in our project correspondence. We cannot, at this time, offer ink formulations specified from the Pantone GOE system or other ink systems (such as Toyo).

Can you print in metallic and fluorescent inks?

Yes. It’s important to note that metallic inks are more opaque than non-metallic inks; they are ink, not foil. Thus, while they’ll show some sparkle on the page, metallic inks do not shine like metal foils will. Please specify an exact Pantone metallic or fluorescent color. These inks are more expensive than “regular” ink, ranging in price from $40 to $70; exact pricing depends on the actual color desired.

Can you print without ink?

Yes. This is commonly referred to as a blind deboss: “blind” meaning ‘without ink,’ and “deboss” meaning with the traditional letterpress bite into the paper.

Is blind debossing less expensive than printing with ink?

No. Typically it costs the same as an inked press run. This is because a blind deboss still requires its own plate, its own press setup and its own press run. The only time blind debossing is less expensive than a traditional inked letterpress run is when compared to metallic or fluorescent ink printing.

How do you indicate the number of ink colors on a project?

The standard “system” to indicate both the number of inks used on a particular job and the side of the paper they’re printed on is a set of numbers separated by a slash. For example, “2/1” indicates that the printed piece will have 2 spot colors of ink on the “front” of the paper, and 1 spot color of ink on the “back” of the paper. And, just to add confusion, these numbers can also indicate blind debossing… so perhaps the better way to think about this system is that it indicates the number of press runs each side of a sheet of paper will be run through on press.



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Sorry, we were unable to find the defintion for this term. This is our fault, we probably put a thing-a-ma-jig in the whats-it spot.