Letterpress FAQ

What’s a polymer plate?

Polymer plates have been an incredible asset to the contemporary letterpress community. Generally speaking, plates are used in commercial printing as well as traditional printmaking. A plate is the surface that transfers the image to the print surface. Polymer (i.e. plastic) plates are photosensitive and are similar to lead type, in that the parts which take ink are raised.

Whereas before the introduction of polymer plates when non-text elements would require expensive etching into metal, now we can letterpress easily and cheaply any kind of design you can think of. The use of polymer plates has opened up the world of letterpress to the possibilities of digital design.

What’s the difference between letterpress and embossing?

Letterpress is debossed, meaning the letters are depressed into the paper. Embossing raises the type on the paper. Still unsure? Run your finger across the surface of your paper face-up. If this is the side that is raised, then you’re holding something that’s been embossed. Now turn the paper over so that you’re looking at its backside. If this is the raised side, then what you’ve got is letterpress!

We offer both traditional letterpress printing as well as embossing.