Our services require very specific knowledge and preparation.
Here are some tips about how to use them to your advantage.
DESIGNING FOR LETTERPRESS:
Whether you are designing your own images, having a graphic designer do it for you, or having us create your images, there are some important things to keep in mind that are specific to letterpress. It has its strengths and its limitations.
- Letterpress cannot hold extreme detail. Any line width smaller than .25 points is not recommended; similarly any font size smaller than 6 points is not recommended.
- Each piece of paper printed on must pass through the press by hand individually. For every additional color desired the entire run must pass through additional times. Traditionally letterpress is limited to 1 or 2 colors. More colors get very expensive and extravagant, (but beautiful).
- Letterpress excels at printing colors at 100% opacity. If you desire an image with shading you must use a halftone to achieve your shaded effect.
- Letterpress also excels at printing dark ink on light paper. Light ink on dark paper is best suited for intaglio. If you want light ink on dark paper, be prepared for paper show-through. With letterpress, we use translucent inks. Printing light ink on dark paper will be like using a thin coat of white paint on a brown wall: you’ll see the brown color through the paint. If using a pure white ink or metallic ink, we can run a piece through the press twice, at an additional cost, to create a more dense color.
- Large solid areas of color do not lend themselves to letterpress (perhaps consider silkscreen). The paper tends to show through large solid areas revealing the slightly textured pulp of the paper or a suede look. This can be desirable! These areas can also cause buckling in the paper because it stretches the paper thin. You may also notice that the tactile impression appears and feels less obvious than the impression of words or smaller images.
- We will happily print on your envelopes, usually on the flap or the front. If you desire other positioning let us know. Some envelopes may limit your placement and make it hard to print without the folds in the envelope showing through its opposite side as a crease.
- If you’re printing a piece larger than 15″ x 24″, please consult with us about what maximum paper size you can use for your design. Depending on the nature of the artwork and the quantity we’re printing, we can recommend a format that works well for our equipment.
- One of the great pleasures of letterpress is the highly tactile surface feel of the finished product. Your hand can feel the edge of each letter and line. Keep that uniquely beautiful sculptural aspect of letterpress in mind as you design.
DESIGNING FOR SILKSCREEN:
Silkscreen is a very versatile medium. It has fewer limitations than letterpress, but like all traditional printmaking techniques, silkscreen can get very expensive as the number of inks and size of the piece increase. Remember that each print is hand-pulled for each layer of color and repetitions of that process inescapably add additional costs. However, a lot can be accomplished with only a few colors! Also remember that your paper color can shine through.
- Silkscreen, like letterpress can only print in 100% opacity. If you desire shaded images you must use a halftone.
- Silkscreen does not leave an impression.
DESIGNING FOR INTAGLIO:
At Banshee Press we utilize intaglio because we love its flexibility. As a fine art medium it offers many beautiful, unique possibilities. To offer intaglio in addition to letterpress and silkscreen is rare, not only because it is more labor intensive, but because of its uncommon application as an option in invitations and various ephemera. At Banshee we see this as a creative opportunity. Intaglio can add a completely unique twist to any project.
- Intaglio lends itself very well to illustration. Hand drawn images can be captured in great detail. We do not recommend using intaglio if you wish to reproduce a digitally-made image, such as text.
- Intaglio prints are made using metal plates, most commonly copper. Currently copper is very expensive. The smaller the plate, the cheaper the print.
- When creating an image on an intaglio plate, many different techniques can be used to achieve different textures, ink tones and line quality all on one plate. This versatility can add a very unique touch to any print.
- Keep in mind that unlike letterpress, only the edge of the plate leaves the impression, not the edge of the image. There is no visible or touchable impression except for around the edge of the entire plate. This impression made by the plate edge is the mark of a genuine intaglio print.
- Intaglio must be printed using wet paper. It cannot be printed on anything that will not absorb water. When using intaglio alongside letterpress or silkscreen, it must be printed as a bottom layer, otherwise the silkscreen and letterpress inks may run, and the impression will be lost.