Once you have selected your paper, you can now choose the printing process and font style or monogram for your invitation or stationery. Engraving and letterpress are by far the most popular choices for wedding invitations, social invitations and fine stationery. Thermography, a relatively new and more-cost effective printing method, simulates engraving and is a popular choice for the budget-conscious. Lithography, or flat-printing, is similar to the impression you would get from an ink-jet or laser printer and is often used for casual invitations or stationery for young adults. Offset printing is more commercial in nature and is generally not used for personalized stationery.
Papers that are engraved produce lettering or motifs which appear slightly raised on the paper surface. Engraved papers tend to be bruised on the back caused by a press applying pressure on a copper die which raises the letters to receive the inks. Engraved inks are opaque, crisp and very distinctive. Dies are created for each color and separate press runs are required to apply each ink color. For complex images such as motifs or monograms, close-registration for each color applied makes for a labor-intensive process but one which produces stunning images. Letterpress is the inverse of engraving as typeface is pressed onto the paper to create subtle images. Ink is rolled over the raised typeface on the polymer plate and then the plate is pressed onto the paper. Both engraving and letterpress printing produce exceptionally fine stationery and distinctive invitations and require great craftsmanship and precision.
Thermography printing is a relatively recent form of printing whereby a colored resin powder is deposited on paper and then passed through a heating element which bakes the powder onto the paper. This is a relatively inexpensive and popular alternative to engraving and is often used for letterhead stationery and business cards. Like engraving and letterpress, each color needs to be applied separately thereby increasing the cost for more than one ink color. With the great advances in printer technology, affordable high-quality printing is now available to the consumer. While monitor and printer calibration is required to produce exact images in the proper color, Member stores find that this technology is well-suited for printing casual invitations and affordable stationery.