We’ve been getting questions about “reverse letterpress” lately and I wanted to show you this effect. Usually, images printed by letterpress are made by pressing a raised image (i.e.: type or a polymer plate) down into thick, fluffy paper. The surrounding background, then, is whatever color the paper is. With reverse letterpress, the background is inked and pressed onto the paper, and on the plate or die the type is a void, meaning the paper shows through as the type color on the printed piece, as you can see above. The example here is with the amazing wedding photographer Gavin Wade‘s fabulous oversize business card, the logo designed by Ross Tanner at Flosites: we mixed his new beigey-taupe color scheme as a Pantone color and reversed the plate so that we could ink it up and press it onto 600 gram Cranes Lettra. His chic logotype sticks up out of the background slightly because we have to use pressure to transfer the ink onto the fibrous paper.The effect is a tactile, luxurious take on an ancient technique that brings it all up to the moment.
It’s an interesting turn. The back of the card uses the opposite technique, the usual way letterpress is applied, with the letters pressed down into the paper…so there’s this sort of interactive little surprise when you turn the card over.
The advantage is, you can get your logo color custom mixed and printed on one side, which gives some extra verve to the presentation. It’s a little more expensive to accomplish. With cards this luxe, the impression you leave when you pass them out is incalculable.