When you’re choosing colors for your wedding invitation suite, you might stop when you get to “Blind” and “White” as color options. Blind doesn’t sound like a very pretty color, and how would you even see white ink? Sound confusing? Don’t worry, I’m going to clear up the mystery about printing with these two “colors” that aren’t really colors at all.
One of the all-time most popular designs in Banter & Charm’s wedding collection is the Harmony invitation suite. This romantic and elegant design features a lace-like pattern pressed into the paper that is stunning, but also a huge source of confusion for many brides. What are the indentations in the paper? Can we change the texture design on the paper? How do you get that pattern pressed in the paper?
Well, those “indentations” in the paper are called blind letterpress (also referred to as blind impress, blind deboss, embossing, or debossing) is the technique of letterpress printing with an un-inked plate to press a design into the paper. The result is a subtle texture without color.
Blind letterpress still involves creating a custom printing plate and running the paper through the printing press a separate time to press the indentations into the paper. Although no ink is used, the press time and labor involved is the same as printing with an ink color. So while it’s not technically a “color”, blind letterpress is considered a “color” when it comes to pricing. Letterpress printing is priced per color since each color requires a separate printing plate and run through the press.
The dotted border in the custom invitation below is pressed into the paper using letterpress printing with no ink. The navy text is letterpress printing with navy ink, and finally the names are printed with gold foil stamping, making this design 2-Color Letterpress + Foil Stamping.
The image below shows the lace detail from the Hope invitation suite in pink letterpress (top), blind letterpress (middle), and gold foil (bottom). The design and production process is the same for the pink letterpress and blind letterpress – you just skip the ink when you “print” blind letterpress. It’s like what happens when you’re righting with a pen that has run out of ink. You can keep writing and you will see indentations in the paper where you’ve pressed the pen down, but there will be no color.
White ink is another tricky “non-color” when it comes to printing. Brides often request white ink on a colored paper, and while it’s available it’s not as simple as it sounds.
There are a few different ways to print white ink, and each one has its benefits.
The first option is with flat printing. One option that gives the appearance of white ink is to print everything except the area you want to be white. In the example below, the white portion is actually the white paper showing where no ink was printed.
White ink is also available with letterpress printing, however, the letterpress inks are not 100% opaque so the paper color will show through. For example, white letterpress ink on black paper will appear a bit gray.
A white foil is offered for foil stamping – this is the best choice when you want a completely opaque ink to prevent the paper showing through. White foil will have a little shine or gloss to it.
The next option for flat print white ink is a special white toner that can be printed on some colored papers. My favorite application? White ink address printing on black envelopes!
Screen printing is excellent for printing white ink on colored paper (as seen in the Beloved invitation below).
With so many variables to consider, how can you choose your colors confidently? Order a sample pack to see them in person! Still can’t decide? I’m happy to offer advice on your color choices!
In the next installment of The Wedding Stationery Guide, I’ll be sharing tips and things to consider when choosing the colors for your wedding invitation suite.