General

Who we are?

We’re a boutique paper stationery maker specialising in letterpress and old-fashioned printing. All our letterpress stationaries are created in-house by a team of craftsmen who obsess over every details with hand. It’s a notoriously labour intensive process but it adds an exceptionally gorgeous, unique touch to any printed goods. We use spot colours in our printing production by matching our inks to the Pantone® Matching System (PMS), hence, no CMYK please.

What do we do?

We tailor paper stationery like wedding invitation, business card, corporate stationery, small packaging and off-the-shelf products like greeting card, postcard, calendars, notebooks and etc. If you have an idea which is not being listed here, let us know, we’d love to venture into new possibilities.

Products

How long does delivery take?

We try to ship in stock orders within 1-2 working days. Please be aware that we are at the mercy of our shipping partners and there can be unforeseen delays in customs or with the delivery.

If you are unable to locate your order, please contact our customer service team at order@thealphabetpress.com who will be happy to help update you with the status of your order.

Do you ship worldwide?

Yes, we do. Make sure your shipping address is correct! Please provide your full shipping address in Latin alphabet characters only.

Can I change my order?

Unfortunately we are unable to amend an order in our system. An order can be cancelled as long as it has not yet been processed and a new order can then be placed via our online store.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Can I return the products?

We want you to be happy with your new purchase, so if you open your goods and find they are not quite right for you, please email us at order@thealphabetpress.com by stating your order number. We will then email you the return instructions on how to send back to us.

TIME: You have 7 days from receiving the order to post your item (it needs to be postmarked within these 7 days).

CONDITION: Please make sure your returned goods are new, unused and in the original condition.

EXCHANGE: Please let us know if you’d like to exchange with other products in the email. We’ll assist from there.

REFUND: Once your goods are returned to us we will quality check them and process a refund.

EXCEPTIONS: We cannot be held responsible for any goods lost in transit and recommend you use a trackable service when returning your order. If the package received is damaged we will contact you with photos of the damage so you can take the appropriate action with your shipping company.

Please note that shipping costs are not refundable.

Production

What is letterpress printing?

Letterpress was the primary form of printing and communication for more than 600 years. It’s the mother of all printing. It’s a technique of relief printing using printing presses.

Here’s a brief introduction of the process: A worker composes and locks movable types into the bed of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the types, which creates an impression on the paper. Johannes Gutenberg is said to have invented the movable type printing press. He began his own version of wood block printing, and then progressed from wood type to metal type in order to achieve the desired print clarity. It’s Gutenberg’s “screw press” or hand press that was used to print 180 copies of the Bible. For 1,282 pages, it took him & his 20 staffs almost 3 years to complete. 48 copies remain intact today.

What is contemporary letterpress?

What we’re currently doing considered as contemporary letterpress. In recent years, it has become desirable to leave a “debossed” effect on one’s print where the impression is sunk into the paper, and when you see that, it’s most often done with letterpress. As a cast iron machine literally punches your print into the paper, we’re able to control the depth of the impression. However, there are many variables that come into play when we’re punching into the paper, such as paper density, opacity, edge bleeding, depth, impression, evenness and so on. Since the process is done on machines approaching 50 years old and there are many variables take place, you’ll find each print in your order will have a life of its own.

Seriously, spot colours only?

Yes – this is a real deal.

However, we do understand there are circumstances that require us to combine different printing techniques together. For instance, first print with offset, follow by letterpress, we’re able to achieve it too. All special prints will be done by request only. And, we’ll have to examine your project to understand its complexity before saying yes to it. So, feel free to send in your request for a quote.

What’s the difference between spot colour and full colour process?

Letterpress is a spot colour printing process. We work with 14 base inks to mix the perfect colours, and each piece of paper is meticulously printed, one sheet and one colour at a time.

For instance, if your artwork has green, red & blue colour, each one of those colours are hand-mixed, and laid down as a solid colour rather than being printed with CMYK process colour – a combination of 4 different colour inks overlapping each other to achieve the full colour.

The result is a beautiful display of colour that has an authentic feel. It’s more vibrant and outstanding.

Who will like this kind of printing?

We do. We don’t consider it as a fancy printing. However, letterpress is the origin of printing with 600 years of stories behind it. It’s a craft that we love doing as the outcome is always rewarding. It’s a print with depth, a print that you can touch; how often a commercial print finishing can achieve something like that? Too little to mention.

We’re creating prints like this because our customers can tell the difference between letterpress and the common printing. Our customers are artisan themselves. They care about the process, love the meticulous details – something that’s so fine, personal and soulful. They are like all human, can tell the difference of 10000 of an inch. Our customers simply have a better taste.

What do you use to make letterpress prints?

We use photopolymer plate for most of our print projects. The photopolymer plate emerged and created a perfect platform for the revival of letterpress printing. The ability to transfer a photo negative to the printing plate revolutionised the letterpress printing process. Larger print runs are now made possible. While some printers still utilised individual character for typesetting and printing, many have embraced the digital method. This new technique reintroduced letterpress printing in a whole new light – making way for new design possibilities, encouraging a newfound popularity of the medium and allowing for style trends to emerge throughout the design community.

Due to its rubbery nature of the plate, it can withstand huge pressure and a thousand times of impression. Unlike zinc plates and lead types, it deformed over time and resulted in an uneven inking. The good thing about photopolymer plate is you basically have the freedom to design your artwork on a computer and make prints in the old and luxurious way.

What kind of ink do you use?

We use rubber-based inks imported from Netherlands.

Do you print glossy ink?

No. We print on uncoated papers and thus all inks (colours) will have a matte finish.

What kind of paper do you use?

We carry a full line of Crane’s Lettra® 100% cotton stock as well as a selection of recycled and fibre papers like Materica Gesso, Wild® and Euro Beer Mat Board (a.k.a Coaster Board). We also order specialty papers on demand.

How large of a sheet can you print?

Our maximum fitting size is 9” x 12”, which is close to an A4-sized paper.

Can you print large solid colours?

Technically yes, but it may turn out as a mottled cloudy effect (salty effect), which may be desirable in some but not all projects. We do not recommend flooding the entire page with large solid areas of colour. It reduces the quality of a print impression. We believe printing impression may be the primary reason why you have chosen letterpress, and flooding with massive blocks of colour is thus counter-productive.

Can you print white ink on dark colour paper?

Yes, but we do not typically print white ink on dark paper stocks. White or light colour inks will always show through on dark paper stocks. It’ll not turn out as bright white colour and normally has a “bluish” appearance.

Can you print white ink on dark colour paper?

Yes, but we do not typically print white ink on dark paper stocks. White or light colour inks will always show through on dark paper stocks. It’ll not turn out as bright white colour and normally has a “bluish” appearance.

How long does it take to print?

Due to the lengthy process of letterpress, we have a print turnaround within 14 to 21 working days.

Why is it expensive to make letterpress prints?

We understand the production cost for making a letterpress print is steep. It happens for good reasons.

Due to the nature of the crafts, significant time and efforts are essential to delivering the best quality print. We individually priced bespoke orders based on the artwork size, number of colours, and the labour works by our artisans. Besides, the letterpress presses have not been in production since the late 60s and early 70s. All letterpress manufacturers have gone out of business. Maintaining our presses take longer time because replacement parts are often hard to find and expensive (taking the parts from another old press if necessary).

And, it’s due to the materials cost. We have to import papers, inks and printing tools to make prints. Local paper distributors don’t carry the papers we need for letterpress printing because there isn’t any demand at the moment. Yes – at the moment! We told them confidently, we’ll change the scene and create demands for it. So, please support us in preserving and reviving the centuries-old craft of letterpress.

Where should I start?

Well, it’s easy!

We’re quite a responsive team, we take pride in this. You may request a quote from us through our online form and we’ll get back to you in split second. Well, we’ll try our best to get back to you soonest possible – it depends on how busy we’re working on the prints. But normally, it’s within 24 hours.

Others

How old is letterpress printing?

Letterpress came along around the 1450s by Johannes Gutenberg. The machines we use today are produced at the dawn of letterpress printing – the few last edition of Heidelberg Platen. Our 2 presses were made between 1945 and 1959. The WWII happened between the two of them, don’t you think that’s an interesting story to tell?

What is the difference between “kiss” and “bite” in letterpress?

A “bite” is the essence of contemporary letterpress. We make a punch on a thick paper stock to create an indentation on the print, so you can literally feel the print. Originally, letterpress was not intended to bite on the paper, but instead, kiss onto it – which is printing on the surface of the paper without pushing the property of a paper to make indentation. Letterpress was faded out with the emerging of offset printing. Just in recent years, there are a group of passionate people who remain sentimental values over letterpress printing, started to revive it and give it a new lease of life. They discover the “bite” way of printing on thick paper stocks and fall in love with it instantly. It arguably saved letterpress printing from extinction.

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