Our Letterpress printing is artistic in nature. Whether working with original artwork or a digital design, we will print your edition with care. The final product will be a warm, tangible, archival, and sensuously tactile form. Our printing gives your work an added impact through the use of careful impression and soft cotton papers.

Pricing starts at $385.00 plus paper costs.
This is for an 8x10 image, up to 50 pieces, short run hand-printing.
Usually we run these projects hand-fed on a Vandercook proofing press.

Longer run commercial projects starts at $585.00 for 1000 pieces.
These are generally stationery or business format printing projects; business cards or calling cards, note cards, announcements, invitations.
We generally run projects such as these on our Heidelberg Windmill, and have minimum quantities of 200 pieces to run the project even if you want a smaller final amount. This would be for one color.

Very involved dynamic projects can cost as much as 5-6 thousand plus dollars to produce. We are comfortable with run counts in excess of 20 colors if the project calls for it and can work through proofing for an added cost as well, but we do offer 'press checks' free of charge.

Services for letterpress printing:
The process starts with your image/source material. This will generally involve working from your image and transferring it to a plate; hand mixing an ink to match your color preference; and a press-check to make sure you're OK with that plate/ink before we run the final prints on one of our printing presses.

Turnaround for letterpress printing:
The process can take 1-3 days working time for a single color from the time you drop your art if we were to rush the project for you, but actual turnaround time is generally 1-2 weeks when we have work in the shop that is ahead of you. More complex projects can take multiple weeks to work out.

Artists can provide color drawings on paper which we are happy to scan (55.00 per scan), separate out for a fee (45.00/hour, approx 2 colors per hour, min one hour), and turn into a plate.

You can also provide a press ready image that is already separated if you know how to do that. We then move on to imaging.

Imaging:

Historically, letterpress refers to the use of movable or cast type to set images into forms which are used to carry information and transfer ink to paper in quantity.
If one wanted to add images to this form, they would have to lock up a cut with the type and print it all together.
Printing in multiple colors of course meant multiple forms and passes through the press. This all required a lot of work; not only did one have to carefully hand-set the type, but they were also required to make it ready for printing, proof it, read the proof, correct the form for errors (TYPO!), but then ultimately print the edition.
Once the edition was produced, the work wasn't finished until the form was re-distributed to the cases- drawers with dividers held in special chests called a cabinet. There is terminology and a resonance of process that is held; but this was not a flexible method, rather a rigid one that required lots of upkeep and maintenance.

Contemporarily, Letterpress has added a technology called Photopolymer Platemaking to the mix of imaging processes. We favor this process of imaging.
There was always a way to transfer images to plates by using photoengraving, but that process was costly and used up precious metal resources- plus, it was slower and required more specific tools and materials, and Acid was in the mix.

Photopolymer is now the preferred method- it provides first rate imaging at 1/2 the costs of metal engravings, plus includes a large helping of speed. The plates are inexpensive relative to metal, the materials are usable immediately after processing, and they're able to be made up quickly using no acid- just tapwater and a special processing machine we have in house.
This means more can be accomplished with less.

So these days, when using the term Letterpress we don't necessarily mean movable type. We can certainly use movable type for it's limited use, but also employ photo-engravings or photopolymer plates for image printing, and since they can carry images and/or typography they have trumped movable type for many reasons, not least of which is the digital age we are existing in and the demand for tangible items from digital sources.

Our Letterpress printing is artistic in nature. Whether working with original artwork or a digital design, we will print your edition with care. The final product will be a warm, tangible, archival, and sensuously tactile form. Our printing gives your work an added impact through the use of careful impression and soft cotton papers.

FAQ below:

What is a Press Check? Will you charge me to be on press?
A press check is when the client- the party responsible for the image whether they be an artist, designer, illustrator, creative director, etc- is on site during the process of making the press ready to approve a proof. This generally allows for the snap examination/decision about color, ink density, impressional depth, etc; we invite clients to our facility to be on press for the makeready and allow them to participate in a limited amount of the process as well. It can be a fun way to learn about printing or a necessary step to make sure your project comes out just so, but we like to think of it as the former.

What are photopolymer plates? What is Type?
When letterpress came into vogue some 500 years ago, printers had to work with movable metal type in order to spell out what they wanted their copy to read, and ultimately set it into lines of type which were inked up and printed onto paper. Metal type is made of lead and often takes a very long time to set; it also requires standardization. There is no design tweaking or customization of lead type, which is a drawback- but it does have a historic 'look', so we keep some cases of type around for the love of history.

But as printing needed to be turned around more quickly, and commercially the work required access to images and not just words, the industry also allowed for image plates to serve illustrative purposes and other more rapid typecasting machines were invented which had keyboard apparatuses; illustrations were still provided by woodcuts, metal engravings, and wood engravings. Newspapers were still printed with this process right into the late 70's. (See "Farewell, ETAOIN SHRDLU" for a fascinating look into this world)
The establishment of illustrated books and prints moved the responsibility of image-making towards a highly skilled caste of craftsmen who engraved images into relief plates for pay; they were usually interpreting illustrations in pen and ink done by an artist.
As the industry advanced through the ages, drawing became secondary to the photograph in the dissemination of images. Industrial photo-engraving processes came into vogue, and illustrators+Photographers worked with photoengravers to make camera-ready art move through a lens via the transmission of light to the surface of a photo-sensitive layer on a metal plate.
The plate would be turned into a relief block by etching away the non-image layers with acid, thus creating a 'photo-engraving' which could be inked up on a letterpress.
These metal plates often still survive today, as many were kept as keepsakes rather than being recycled, but the process is somewhat toxic and on an industrial scale was found to be wasteful. New methods involving photopolymers (plastic plates that are sensitive to light!) were invented at some point in the late 70's to the early 80's, were refined heavily and widely accepted through the 90's.
Now it is virtually the main way people print with letterpress; a photopolymer plate is more affordable, is recyclable, and takes less effort to produce- they develop with tapwater (not acid!) and are fast to process (takes about 90 minutes.)

We process our photopolymer plates in house and turn them around in a same-day format when necessary, giving use the flexibility to alter projects as needed to suit designated outcomes.

What kind of printing presses do you have?

We have three letterpress compatible printing presses and an etching press for hand printing:

Vandercook Universal I, (15x22" max sheet)

Vandercook Universal II (18x24 max sheet)

A Heidelberg T-Platen (Windmill) (10x15 max sheet)

This equipment allows us to slowly print up to 16"X20" image size on up to 18x24 sheets, and various smaller sizes of images on smaller equipment at faster speeds.

Additionally, our studio houses a William F. Crull Intaglio press with a 36x60" bed, capable of printing letterpress plates. We can hand ink on this press for very special oversized projects on sheets up to 30x44".

Your pricing above says Art edition Letterpress Letterpress projects start at a minimum services charge of $385.00. Could you elaborate?

For this fee we will run an out of the can ink in a run of up to 50 pieces from an 8x10 or smaller image on your supplied paper. More sheets can be run out for minimal increases in cost; the fee is a setup fee.
Fee is subject to change, of course, with different plate size, a custom color, added effects, or other necessary surcharges based on your project. Outline your project as descriptively as you can in an email and send us a quote request including the pertinent details and we'll let you know exactly how much your project costs.

We primarily work from Photopolymer plates and we make them for you to your specifications here.

The artwork you provide for our platemaking services can be in drawing form on paper (we can scan, separate it into plates for you and prepare it for printing for a fee), or pre-separated digital form.

We make plates here, in house, from start to finish- and can rush an order (for additional fees) on the same day the artwork is provided.

We can also print with more classic techniques- from hand-cut or machine carved blocks. We love to merge old and new, and Haven Press employs a laser-engraver which can transfer your digital designs to tangible organic surfaces such as exotic wood veneers or other materials for letterpress printing (or other printmaking applications).

We can also tackle larger scope commercial projects as well as short run art editions, and provide small format printing up to 6x9" in longer runs from hundreds to thousands.

Commercial style printing Letterpress Pricing starts at $585.00.
This pricing includes up to 500 pieces of 4"x6" image on customer supplied stock. We will print on an automatic machine in the case of commercial printing.
If you want something the size of a business card (2x3") we can provide 1000 pieces for the same price.

We can supply stock and estimate it out for you, naturally, but would have to hear about your project before providing any kind of paper pricing, and you'll need to let us know what you want to designate. If you're unsure, ask for a placeholder recommendation and you can substitute your actual stock at a later date.