Letterpress is one of the earliest forms of printing text on paper. Circa 1439 Johann Gutenberg was the father of letterpress printing in Europe, but the Chinese had developed similar types of relief printing as early as the 2nd century A.D. The Letterpress printing process is printing in which the raised surface of type and/or images are inked and then pressed against the paper to obtain an image in reverse. Historically this raised surface was movable type (characters cast as individual letter forms in wood or metal) where each letter was placed by hand to form the words and images. Here at Elum we use photopolymer plates to create the raised surface. The artwork is created digitally and then we transfer the work to film and use the film to expose the plates. This allows us to create the artwork and typefaces we specifically want.
[box]AT ELUM WE ARE PROUD NOT ONLY HELP PRESERVE THIS [highlight]TRADITIONAL WAY OF PRINTING[/highlight] BUT ALSO THAT THE [highlight]CRAFTSMANSHIP, SKILL AND HANDMADE CARE[/highlight] IT REQUIRES SHOWS THROUGH IN EVERY PIECE WE PRODUCE.[/box]
During the printing process the “plates” are inked and pressed into the paper to create a canyon of space where the ink is then deposited into the bottom of this impression. Only the most skilled and precise process keeps the walls of impression clean and the bottom filled with a thick and even layer of ink. The high contrast of the color and shadow created by the ink filled impression and clean walls gives letterpress its distinct allure and charm. At elum we pride ourselves on our ability to produce the finest example of letterpress printing. Our process is labor intensive and each item is run through the press one at a time. This is a time consuming process which has been forsaken for faster and cheaper processes such as offset and thermograpy printing. At Elum we are proud not only to help preserve this traditional way of printing but also that the craftsmanship, skill, and handmade care it requires shows through in every piece we produce.