Letterpress vs. Foil


We're asked about the difference between letterpress and foil stamping all the time. After we printed these cards for Wes Schulz of Dreams Collide we knew they were  perfect to illustrate the difference.

Foil Stamping (on the right) uses a metal plate  with heat to imprint foil onto paper.  Foil comes in a variety of shades including golds and silvers as well as a blues, greens, reds and lots of colors in between. We also have pigment (without the shine) and specialty foils like holographic and scratch off.

Letterpress (on the left) uses a plastic plate along with ink to create a debossed effect. There are more choices when it comes to ink color and if a pantone color doesn't exist, we mix it from scratch. Ink colors also include metallics (e.g. gold, bronze, copper, silver, etc.) and fluorescents.

More photos after the jump -->


Dreams Collide Tattoo - Foil + Letterpress

What’s the difference?

– when printing on white paper go for letterpress, the impression is deeper
– metallic inks for letterpress print flat, on some colored stock the ink can have a slight sheen
– metallic foils are the best choice if you want a shiny effect
– foil is better for light colors on dark paper since foil is more opaque
– light ink on dark paper doesn’t work since ink is semi-transparent
– best inks for dark paper are gold (871), silver (877), transparent white, and black
– generally if the ink is lighter than the paper, foil is the way to go

the specs:

Size – 3.5″ x 2″
Stock – 570gsm Duplexed Colorplan Imperial Blue
Letterpress – Gold – PMS 871
Foil Stamping – Metallic Gold Shine
Press – Heidelberg Windmill + Brandtjen & Kluge