Printing Styles


Printing Styles

Invitations set the tone for your event and most people are shocked when they realize how many options are available. The style you choose can help make the statement you are looking for in the artistry of your invitation. Your choice of printing style also creates the feeling you want to give your guests through your design. Here are eight different printing styles to consider when designing your invitations.


Letterpress printing is a technique where ink is applied to a raised surface ( typically copper) , similar to a rubber stamp, and then paper is pressed directly against it to transfer the text or image. Using this technique allows for an impression to be left behind, giving what is printed on a beautiful texture. Letterpress printing is also known as relief printing, or printing from a raised surface. It is one of the oldest forms of printing. Typically this is done on a soft cotton or handmade paper so that the impression is deep and noticeable.


Embossing is the process of creating a raised, or three dimensional, image or design on paper or other materials. Basically it is the opposite of letterpress. Instead of ushing the design down into the paper you are using two plates to push the design up so it pops the paper up.

Foil Stamping

Foil stamping is a printing technique where heat and pressure, are applied to a metallic paper (foil) is used to create shiny designs and graphics on various materials. It is also referred to as dry printing because it does not use any sort of ink. This technique also creates an impressed image, resulting in a more defined and carved look.

Offset Printing

Offset printing uses etched metal plates that apply ink onto a sheet of paper. It’s called offset because the ink is not transferred directly onto the paper. This technique offers great quality, resulting in a more sharp, clean, rich, and vibrant image to your design. You use PMS colors for offset printing enabling you to get an exact match to a color vs digital printing where the color you see and color you print can vary and is limited to certain weights and sizes of paper.


Engraving is the process of pressing an etched plate into the back of paper, creating raised lettering, then ink or foil is applied. The ink used for engraving is heavy and slightly raised. It is common for tissue to be used in this type of invitation to keep the ink from smearing. it is used for very detailed intricate designs.


Etching is typically done on an acrylic or wood material using a laser to burn away layers of the material to create a design or wording without cutting all the way through.

Digital Printing

Digital printing is a method of printing from a digital-based image, using a combination of inks and toners, directly to a variety of surfaces. This is the most cost effect and common printing method.


Thermography printing is where the paper has been coated with a material that changes color upon heating, causing the text or graphics to be slightly raised with a glossy appearance.

In addition to the previously described printing types, laser cutting and die cutting are two different techniques used to cut shapes that can add to the creativity of your invitation. Laser cutting is a precise method of non-contact cutting using a high-power laser to cut materials such as paper, wood, plastic, or metal.

Die cutting is essentially like a heavy-duty cookie-cutter. A thin, razor-sharp steel blade that has been formed into a shape or pattern is used to cut paper or other materials.

This quick guide should help in giving you a better picture of the style and impression you are looking to create through your wedding invitation or event stationery. In our consults we show samples of these and explain the cost and timing difference as well as help clients differentiate what style they should use to obtain the look and feel they are going for and how to accomplish it. Interested in setting up a consult either remotely or in person? email us :


About Whimsique

Whimsíque (pronounced whim-zeek) is an award-winning designer invitation and stationery studio committed to making one-of-a-kind luxury wedding invitations and stationery that provide an exclusive and authentic expression of you, your relationship and your wedding event.