Since we’ve been discussing wedding invitations a lot recently, it seemed a good idea to describe the printing techniques available at Crane.
A Crane specialty, engraving is one of the oldest and most elegant printing processes. You can recognize engraving by the exquisite detail and fine lines of the raised copy and the subtle bruise on the back. Engraving is ideal for printing light colors on dark paper, and for metallics that gleam as in no other process. That’s because we send it though the press a second time to burnish the type or image. (In Crane-speak, it’s knows as a “bump.”
All engraving dies are returned. They can be used to replenish your stationery, or create a new look with different papers and inks. Wondering what to do with the engraved plate of your wedding invitation? Frame it!
Thermography printing imitates the appearance of engraved type. A clear, resinous powder is applied over flat-printed ink. When heated, the powder fuses with the ink and swells to create a smooth, raised surface with a subtle sheen. Thermography inks are not opaque, so the color changes slightly with the tone of the paper.
You can see engraving and thermography processes here.
Essentially engraving with no ink, blind embossing adds texture and dimension by creating shadow and depth. A ton of pressure per square inch expands the paper fibers and reshapes the surface of the paper. Embossing dies can be etched to create a single level of detail, or hand-cut so the design has multiple levels. Soft and durable, Crane’s 100% cotton papers are especially suited for blind embossing.
Dating back to the 14th century, letterpress printing brings age-old craftsmanship to classic and updated design. You’ll know it by the indented text and design on your stationery. Crane’s Lettra 100% cotton paper has a unique softness, making it ideal for the highly aesthetic craft of letterpress.
Also called offset printing or lithography, flat printing is produced by transferring an inked impression from a plate to a rubber cylinder, and then to the paper. As the name implies, the image created is flat to the surface of the paper. Flat printing is ideal for large blocks of color and gradations of hue.
Foil stamping involves applying heat while a foil ribbon is pressed between a metal die and paper. Foils can be opaque or transparent with metallic or satin finishes. At Crane, foil stamping is a custom process. Here’s a brief video.
Digital printing takes a design straight from an electronic file to paper without the need for dies or printing plates. This process allows for printing multiple-color photographs and designs in a single press pass. Crane has a cotton paper developed especially for digital printing.