What letterpress is, and why we love it

Letterpress dates back to the 15th century and is the oldest form of printing, where a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into paper, creating an impression you can see and feel. Letterpress gives a one-of-a-kind, tactile result that no other printing technique can replicate.

Unlike modern printing processes such as digital and offset printing, letterpress is a labour-intensive process that is done almost completely by hand, and requires the highest quality materials and craftsmanship – together with a large helping of patience, time and the utmost attention to detail.

Our workhorse is Wilda, our 1950s Heidelberg platen. She’s Wilda by name, wilder by nature! But she does a brilliant job and the quality she puts out is second to none. It’s German engineering at its finest. We love Wilda.

Alongside Wilda, we have our three Chandler & Price platens – Bertrand, Fred and Gertrude – dating from the early 1900s.

Every single piece designed by Simplethings Press is hand-crafted by us, down to the tiniest detail, and printed on antique presses in our studio.

Once the design is finalised, a plate is then made with a reversed image of the design. For a two colour job, two plates are required – one for each colour. The plate is then carefully aligned on our press, and each piece of paper is meticulously printed, one sheet and one ink colour at a time. For a two colour invitation, each piece of paper is fed through the press two times, once for each colour.

We print each piece of your order with our own hands – one of us personally mounts your plate, mixes the ink, preps until everything is perfect (known as the ‘make ready’, a process that can take hours, depending on the complexity of the artwork), and then once perfect, feeds each piece of paper through the press, personally supervising as each sheet feeds through, one at a time.

Letterpress is incredibly time-consuming and a true labour of love, but the end result makes it all worthwhile. When you hold one of our invitations in your hand, we know you’ll agree – there’s nothing else quite like it.