Letterpress: Multiple Colors

Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2004

A variety of ink colors can yield elaborate effects, such as multihued motifs and contrasting borders. (Keep in mind that each color needs its own printing plate, increasing the price.)

Varied typefaces are especially charming when they're in different hues, such as on the fan, which quotes Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" in red and celadon inks; the vintage wood type chosen to reproduce the text left behind delightful imperfections.

Select ink in shades of the same color to unify a design: Light-green ink on a cream invitation (3) creates a backdrop of blossoms; the words stand out in darker green ink. No ink was used for the letterpress laurel wreath on a cream invitation (4), a process known as blind printing, but a separate plate from the one used for the red text was still required. Scallop borders on a white invitation (8) were die-cut with the same letterpress machine used for the rest of the card's design. Paper bands (9) enhance stationery. Gift tags (13) look retro with multicolored circles.

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