Printing Processes 101

A Primer from Alpine Creative Group

Offset printing, engraving, letterpress, foil stamping – the terms are often familiar to brides, but what exactly do they mean?
Fan Jiang

Offset printing, engraving, letterpress, foil stamping – the terms are often familiar to brides, but what exactly do they mean? And why, oh why, can they be so pricy?

In the modern age of evites, traditional print methods are seeing resurgence in wedding paper suites. There is something more private, and truly special, about a beautifully printed invitation arriving in the mail.

Alpine Creative Group are masters of these increasingly rare techniques. Unlike other custom stationers, Alpine has a completely vertically integrated process – meaning that everything is done in house, from design to manufacturing. This translates into better quality control at every step of the process, and a true mastery of the printing arts.

Alpine’s president, Steve Paster, and their production manager, Andy Balog, took us behind the scenes to explain the differences between the printing processes and show the level of work that goes into every single piece.

Many of the methods require the use of antique machinery that is no longer in production. (Alpine’s engraving press was manufactured the same year that the Titanic sank!) Moreover, the skills needed to run the equipment is highly specialized and no longer taught to most design students. That means that training new artisans requires years of apprenticeship to gain the experience necessary to produce top-quality work.

So why are traditional print techniques so expensive? As you will see, the main cause is the amount of highly-skilled labor and time that goes into every single invitation.

Read on to learn about the different printing processes and see how they compare:

 

 
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