Wedding Invitation Printing: Digital Printing vs Letterpress vs Hot Foil Stamping

Planning your dream wedding means making a ton of decisions, and one surprisingly important choice is how your wedding invitations will be printed. Believe it or not, the printing style can completely transform the vibe of your invites and set the mood for your big day.

Whether you’re into classic vibes with letterpress or shiny glam with hot foil stamping, or even if you prefer the crisp look of digital printing, each method has its perks and can match your wedding theme perfectly.

Today, we’ll cover the ins and outs of letterpress, hot foil stamping and digital printing so you can choose the perfect printing method for your wedding invitations — whether you’re all about timeless elegance, bold and modern style, or a mix of both.

Understanding these printing styles will ensure your wedding invites are not just invitations to your wedding, but pieces of art that reflect who you are and what your guests can expect on the big day.

Digital Flat Ink Printing

Digital printing on wedding invitation - watercolour venue illustration in green tones
Image courtesy of The Sundae Creative

Digital printing for wedding invitations is a modern and efficient printing method that uses digital files to directly print designs onto paper,  typically using ink or laser toner.

Unlike traditional printing methods like letterpress or hot foil stamping, which involve physical plates or dies, digital printing transfers the design digitally, allowing for quick production and customization.

It offers a wide range of colour options, intricate details, and the flexibility to print small batches cost-effectively. With digital printing, you can easily incorporate personalized elements like photos, watercolour artwork, or multi-coloured designs.

Digital printing is a popular choice for couples looking for convenience, versatility, and contemporary designs for their wedding invitations. That said, nearly every wedding invitation suite will incorporate some form of digital printing — even if it’s just for your envelope addressing or liners.

Styles that work best with digital printing

  • Watercolour artwork
  • Photos
  • Intricate and colourful motifs
  • White ink (although this would be done using a specialty printer)
Digital printing methods - digital inkjet printer, Canon Pro-100
Image courtesy of A Touch of la

The Pros of Digital Printing

  • Cost-Effective: Digital printing is often more affordable, especially for small batches and personalized designs.
  • Quick Turnaround: It offers fast production times, ideal for tight timelines or last-minute changes.
  • Versatility: Digital printing allows for a wide range of colours, designs, and customization options.

The Cons of Digital Printing

  • Less Luxurious Appearance: It may not convey the same level of luxury and elegance as foil stamping or embossing.
  • Limited Texture Options: Digital printing lacks the tactile feel and texture of methods like letterpress or hot foil stamping.

Letterpress Printing

Letterpress printing for wedding invitations - white and cream cards with grey ink
Image courtesy of Dinglewood Design & Press

Letterpress printing is like the OG of printing techniques, going all the way back to Gutenberg himself. The hallmarks of letterpress printing are a custom engraved raised plate, usually made of metal or polymer, and hand-mixed ink in a custom colour.

The letterpress machine presses the plate, which is covered in ink, onto your chosen paper, creating a deep impression and a luxurious and vintage feel. Letterpress is known for its crisp and clear text, rich colors, and cloud-like texture.

Letterpress requires hands-on skill and craftsmanship, making each printed piece unique and special. Choose this method if you’re looking for a timeless and sophisticated touch to your wedding invitations.

Styles that work best with letterpress printing

  • Primarily text, including script
  • One-colour designs (adding additional colours is possible, but significantly adds to the cost)
  • Simple & minimal designs
  • Traditional & formal weddings
Letterpress printing method - desktop letterpress printing machine
Image courtesy of JunePress

The Pros of Letterpress Printing

  • Timeless Charm: Letterpress has a timeless and classic appeal, perfect for conveying a sense of tradition and elegance.
  • High-Quality Results: The deep impression and crisp details of letterpress printing result in premium-quality prints.
  • Artisan Craftsmanship: Letterpress printing involves skilled craftsmanship, resulting in a bespoke and artisanal look.

The Cons of Letterpress Printing

  • Cost: Letterpress printing can be more expensive than digital or offset printing, especially for intricate designs or small quantities.
  • Slower Production: The manual nature of letterpress printing leads to slower production times, which may not be suitable for tight deadlines.
  • Limited Colours: Letterpress is most often used with cotton card stock, which is typically only available in shades of white and pink.

Hot Foil Stamping

Hot foil stamping wedding invitation - black card with silver foil printing
Image courtesy of Copper + Blush

Hot foil stamping is a sophisticated printing technique used to add luxurious metallic or pigmented foil accents to wedding invitations. It involves pressing a heated, custom-engraved die onto a foil sheet, which transfers the foil onto the paper under high pressure.

This process typically creates a shiny and elegant finish that stands out beautifully on various paper types, adding a touch of glamour and sophistication to the design. Pigmented foils act a lot like letterpress ink, although they are typically more opaque.

Hot foil stamping is often chosen for its ability to create eye-catching effects, such as metallic sheens and intricate patterns, making it an ideal choice for couples who love surprising their guests or who are looking to play with textures and finishes.

Styles that work best with hot foil stamping

  • Metallics
  • Traditional, formal, elegant vibes
  • Modern and bold couples
Hot foil stamping - desktop hot foil stamping press machine
Image courtesy of Copper + Blush

The Pros of Hot Foil Stamping

  • Luxurious Finish: Hot foil stamping creates a shiny and elegant finish that adds a touch of luxury to wedding invitations.
  • Metallic Effects: Hot foil stamping can create stunning metallic effects in gold, silver, rose gold, and other colors, enhancing the visual appeal.
  • High Contrast: Foil stamping produces high-contrast designs with sharp edges and fine details, perfect for intricate motifs or typography.

The Cons of Hot Foil Stamping

  • Cost: Hot foil stamping can be more expensive than other printing methods.
  • Limited Color Options: There is no way to create a custom colour foil, so options are limited to stock colours. However, card stock options in a wide range of colours create endless colour combinations.
  • Setup Time: Setting up the foil stamping process for each design can be time-consuming, leading to longer production times.

To Sum Up…

When it comes to choosing the perfect printing method for your wedding invitations, each option offers distinct advantages and considerations.

Digital printing provides versatility, quick turnaround times, and cost-effective solutions, perfect for those with multi-coloured designs or tight timelines.

Letterpress printing adds timeless elegance and tactile charm, ideal for couples seeking a classic and sophisticated look.

Hot foil stamping offers a touch of luxury with metallic finishes and high-impact visuals, making invitations stand out beautifully.

Understanding the pros and cons of letterpress, digital printing, and hot foil stamping will help you make the right decision about which wedding invitation printing method is right for your invitations.

If you’re not sure where to start, working with a custom wedding invitation designer might be your best bet and I’d love to help you out! You can read more about what we can do together or get in touch to speak with me directly about your vision!

hey! i’m gillian!

Paper person. Jeopardy nerd. Magpie [hoarder of shiny things].

Most people call me Gill (like Jack ‘n). I’m the owner/designer/maker here at Copper + Blush. Making stunning foil stationery you will absolutely love is totally my cup of tea.

When I’m not working away in my home studio, I’m most likely picking up (yet another) new hobby or snuggling up with my hilarious husband on our comfy couch.

Looking for a designer for your wedding stationery? Check out more about what we can create together!

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The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Invitation Printing
Black invitation with silver foil stamping and letterpress wedding invitation