• Amy Hammond

Which Print Method Will Work Best for My Invitations?

There are so many options for printing. We’ve simplified the most commonly used print methods for wedding invitations below.


Digital Print ($)

Digital printing is often used for wedding invitations, but more often for save-the-dates and wedding day details. One of my Printers (capital P for respect) doesn't like me to call digital printing a print method - he prefers that I just call it "digital". Regardless, you can still have beautifully printed wedding stationery with "digital".

The process involves the transfer four colors of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to paper all at one time through tiny dots of ink, producing a full-color print after only one pass through the printer. Digital is the often used because it’s fast and inexpensive. If I am working with a client that needs things done quickly or wants to use a photo, I will often recommend digital.

Digitally printed save the dates

Flat Printing ($)

Flat printing is also known as offset printing. This print method uses plates, usually made from aluminum, which are used to transfer an image onto a rubber "blanket", and then rolling that image onto a sheet of paper. It's called offset because the ink is not transferred directly onto the paper. Each color of ink is applied separately. Flat printing works great for large quantities and for very few colors.

Flat or offset print wedding invitation

Thermography ($$)

Looks similar to engraving but the process is very different. With thermography, a wet ink image is fused by heat or infrared radiation with a resinous powder to produce a raised impression. The process involves a 12 foot conveyor belt. First, ink is laid on the invitation then the powder is applied and will adhere to any wet ink. Then the piece goes through a vaccuum to pick up any of the loose powder. Finally the piece goes through 1280 degree oven to set the powder and a cool down fan.

Raised print (thermography) wedding invitation

Letterpress ($$$)

Letterpress is my favorite print method. Letterpress involves a plate being created with the design and that is then coated with (or without) ink and pressed into the paper. Letterpress works best with a soft, thick stock. Once pressed, the design creates a pillow-y effect around itself. Letterpress invitations are an elegant, tactile experience for your guest to see and feel. Letterpress can be combined with other print methods to allow for a variety of styles to show through. I love to use letterpress with digital watercolor images - the two are a perfect marriage for a wedding invitation.

Letterpress printed wedding invitation

Video of Letterpress printing in action from Laura Marr Press. Check out that amazing plate!


Foil Printing ($$$)

Foil printing has been a big trend recently and that is unlikely to change. Foil printing is similar to letterpress, as it is also pressed into the paper but the die for the press is heated to cause the foil to transfer to the paper. If you need a light color on a dark paper or want your a metallic design pressed into the paper, foil is your best bet.

Foil print wedding invitation

Video of Foil press printing in action from Laura Marr Press.


Engraving ($$$)

An image is etched into a metal plate that's then filled with ink. The paper is pressed onto the plate with a huge amount of pressure, to receive the ink. This creates a raised type on the front and an indentation on the back. Due to the amount of pressure used, engraving can accommodate the thickest stock. If you've ever seen a copper printing plate, it was used for engraving. The result is a raised print that is beautiful to the eye and to the touch.

Engraved wedding invitation




Amy Hammond is the owner of Stone Hill Paperie, an invitation, stationery, and personalized gift studio in the quaint village of Skippack, Pennsylvania. Available by appointment to give you the attention you deserve for your important and unique event. Graphic design services for your wedding in the Philadelphia area or anywhere in the U.S.


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