Letterpress printing is a printing technique that uses relief printing of text and image. It uses a printing press with a raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper which receives the image. The letterpress is an older technique that was used in the mid 15th century through the second half of the 20th century. Letterpress printing is very rare and has since been replaced by lithographs, offset printing and digital printing.
A vary small amount of letterpress printing still exists as a hobby or for artistic purposes. Experienced letterpress printers can produce high-quality work that is crisper than lithograph printing because the impression into the paper produces a greater visual definition. Many of these smaller letterpress printers produce limited editions of books or upscale invitations and stationery. Some of the common items for which letterpress printing is used are business cards, letterhead, proofs, forms, posters, announcements, imprinting, and embossing.
Although the letterpress can produce a higher-quality image, particularly in typography, it is very difficult to print color because you can only print one color at a time as opposed to offset and digital printing which can print up to four colors at one time producing a full color image.
Letterpress printing differs from other printing techniques because it can only use one color at a time, dark ink on light paper produces the best image, art must be a specific thickness with no small cracks, fonts must be larger for better results, and letterpress printing is especially difficult on solids because it shows the texture.