Letterpress printing
and other
graphic splendors.

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Season's Eatings Letterpress Card


Despite my reputation, I really hate to be the bearer of grim tidings, especially this time of year. But unfortunately, I must inform you that the last day to order letterpress printed Christmas cards is now upon us.

Please continue reading if you’ve put off your holiday duties to the very last minute or if you just want some holiday graphic inspiration.

Even though we use sophisticated automatic-feed presses (circa 1960-70s), letterpress printing still involves a lot of material preparation and hand-crafting. This all adds to the production time required.

Then, of course, the mail carriers need to do their thing too, so it’s definitely time to get a move on!

Potomac Pathways Christmas Card by Greg Clarke

Holiday printing ordering deadline Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

Our normal turnaround time for straightforward custom letterpress jobs is 8 to 10 working days from project go-ahead and receipt of finished artwork files.

We can often rush a production a touch but still need to allow enough time to make sure the printing turns out its very best.

U.S. Postal Service, Last Mailing Date, First Class Mail, Dec. 20, 2019.

If you are going to send Christmas cards, it’s nice if they arrive on time! This last USPS mailing date is Dec. 20th, 2019 within the continental U.S. states. If you have a friend in Hawaii or Alaska they are probably out of luck this year.

Plus, time needs to be built into the schedule for shipping the finished printing from our shop to you. This will likely involve expedited shipping which would incur an extra cost.

So I hope you can see the urgency here!

Only projects that are NOT overly fussy.

We will need to see your artwork and job specs before we can tell you exactly how long the printing will take and whether or not it can be done in time for the last mailing date. But if there is to be any chance at all, the job cannot be overly complicated.

This means that only projects with 1 or 2 colors can be done in this short timeframe.

No jobs with 3 or more colors, hard to get paper stock, die-cutting, edging, or any of the other fancy-schmancy techniques can be done on a condensed schedule.

To showcase in this post, we’ve selected holiday cards that were produced for customers in the past and only use 1 or 2 ink colors. We think they are great examples of design and artwork that is well suited for letterpress.

Credits & Production Notes

Season’s Eatings (very top of page) 2-color letterpress using a Pantone red and a fluorescent yellow-green.

Season’s Greetings (with skaters) This is also a 2-color job. The artwork was created and the colors were carefully chosen to produce the visual effect of a third color where the two colors overprint each other. Design and Illustration by Greg Clarke

Merry & Bright Christmas (in gallery above) Design by Fizz Creative. Design duo Katie and Jasen Melnick try to do a holiday piece every year and are usually very good about allowing enough time for the production and mailing.

To be honest, we’ve left things til too late ourselves.

I began putting together this post a couple of weeks ago. That would have given anyone who is planning a letterpress Christmas card ample warning and time to prepare their design and artwork to avoid the last-minute rush.

But alas, as seems to be the way things go, I also got bogged down with day-to-day work and customer projects and was unable to get this article done in a timely manner.

I apologize for the delay but hope the festive images at least give you some eye-candy to enjoy.

But by all means, if you are ready, willing and able to have your artwork ready as described above, get in touch to discuss the options!

No time for Christmas?
How about a New Year’s card!

2020 Letterpress New Years Card and Envelope

A new year, a new decade,
and, it will at least be interesting.

If you can’t get your Christmas card done in time, a ‘Happy 2020!’ folded letterpress card could be a suitable alternative. Clients, prospects, friends and family will appreciate the January greeting. Plus it gives you a few more weeks to work up a kick-ass piece of design and artwork!

The card above is a good example of the economical use of letterpress. Single-color printing in a blue-green ink color custom mixed to match the envelope.

Card by Silly Little Cards who will be opening shop soon.

Happy Holidays To All!