Getting crafty digital style

Getting crafty digital style


Letterpress print effect

Shutterstock recently shared a tutorial on how to achieve a letterpress print effect using Photoshop and Illustrator. This is a great way to give a crafty textured look to your work. It also is a great way to learn a little more about the history of the letterpress technique.

As mentioned in the tutorial, letterpress refers to the technique invented by Johannes Gutenburg whereby a raised surface is inked and pressed onto paper (relief printing). One of the problems with the process stemmed from the fact that, for centuries, both printing plates and paper were handmade, and therefore not perfectly flat, resulting in knocked out areas where ink failed to deposit on the paper. Printers attempted to avoid such errors by increasing the force of their machines so much so that the plates would actually compress and flatten the paper at the point of contact, creating the distinctive indentation and contouring for which letterpress is known today.

Additionally, because colors were applied separately and required manual plate changing, most letterpress printed graphics were born of bold graphic line art and a limited color palette.

Gutenburg press


Have fun exploring another potential way to add texture and interest to your graphics.

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