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5 Bold Moves to Modernize the Letterpress Invitation

by Katie Mouallek |

(feat. Swell Press)

Just to set the tone for passersby: we stand in defense of paper. I personally overcompensate for my undying love of beautiful paper goods by recycling the sh*t out of everything in attempts to obtain at least a net zero result. Wedding invitations are a point of contention for many, “I mean don’t they just: get thrown away? get crushed in the mail? go unappreciated?”. Answer: yeah, sometimes. I remember seeing my 2 ply, ivory cotton, letterpress invitation with rose gold edge painting lying on the floor on the passenger side of my best friends car (💔R.I.P thoughtfully designed invitation). That said, I would mail that invitation one thousand times over even knowing it’s inevitable fate.

In my mind, wedding invitations are not only an heirloom but a historical document marking an important event in one’s lifetime. It is your responsibility to make this representation of life reflective and beautiful. Jump on my bandwagon and you will definitely be able to justify the occasionally-perceived-exorbitant cost. I mean, it’s a good deed. IT’S FOR POSTERITY.

(Or say ‘def not’, and use email, that’s probably more historically accurate anyways)

But alas, our topic of conversation and inspiration: Letterpress. The mode is the oldest form of printing, but today there are so many creative ways to make a letterpress invitation modern and your own. Below are 5 of them, featuring work from the beyond talented Britt Junod Rohr of Swell Press. Pictures for your drooling pleasure.

1. Bold Color:

The invitation is a little preview as to what the wedding day will look like and feel like. Gone are the days of black ink on bright white. Now you can seriously have fun with color and send a subliminal message to your invitees about how much fun they are soon to have. 

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2. Painted Edges:

In keeping with the color theme: painted edges. If you’d rather have your text in a neutral color palette, you can add a ‘playful wink’ to your invitation in the form of saturated edge painting. The impact is greatest when you have a stack of invitations so order extras or take a good before picture.

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3. Not-Stuffy Wording

The antithesis of a formal invitation: casual wording. You're sending these invitations to friends and loved ones that you probably have frequent dialogue with so you don't necessarily need to use the Queen's English for your invitation. Instead have fun with the lexicon, it’s awkward enough that you are mailing an invitation to your best friend who you text constantly and already knows every detail of your wedding day.

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4. Blind Embossed Designs

This technique which is an impression sans color is a really good strategy if you’re going for a theme but want to convey it in a more subtle way. It’s very present, but it’s also not.

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5. Colored Envelopes

Circling back to color. If ideas #1 and #2 didn’t feel right, venture into colored envelope territory. It’s a bold statement without over committing and there are a plethora of options. You can also take this opportunity to flirt with ink color, again not as much of a commitment because you know they do get mauled by letter-opening-fingers fearful of paper cuts.   

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