Debossing experiments

On Friday Jubedha and I went to the letterpress to ask Kim for advice on embossing or debossing. One of our ideas in the chalet team is to emboss or deboss a part of my divider page design. Kim was very helpful and gave us really good advice. Now we know what is possible to do and what our options are. How perfect that there happens to be an open access day for the letterpress!

So the idea that Jubedha actually came up with when she saw the design (below) is that we’d deboss the letter L. So instead of printing it with any ink, it would have a blind deboss. I think it’s a genius idea!

Kim said that it’s generally not good to emboss text with the letterpress letters because it can ruin the letters. But she said we could do it since it’s just the L that we want to emboss. Also there’s a typeface in the letterpress that is pretty similar to Futura which I used in the design. We could print the text with black ink and then emboss the L. That means we’d have to do two layers on each of the 300 copies of the page. It’s quite a lot but Kim said it would go pretty quickly once you get started.

Another thing to consider is paper stock. Kim told us that the paper would have to be quite thick, at least around 300 gsm. It also needs to be soft which is not usually the case with colored papers. But she happened to have yellow card in the room that we were able to try the process on. At first we just tried 2 random letters, KH. We tried with different pressures but I think in all of them the impression shows pretty well. I don’t think we need anything fancier than that.

Letters KH debossed with the letterpress characters.

Another great tip that Kim gave us was that we could add yellow ink to the blind deboss. At first I didn’t think it would make such a difference but when I saw it printed I thought it looks great! The yellow ink gives it a bit of shine and shadow, but it doesn’t look like it had ink in it really. I think we should use that trick for the page.

The problem is that if we get the book printed and bound somewhere professionally, we can’t use different paper stocks and printing methods. Also even if we print and spiral bind it at uni, there may still have to be limits to the stock weight that every chapter team can use because the spirals that we have at uni are so small. So if the book is any thicker than last year’s, it will be too thick for the spiral. What we could do regardless of the weight limitation is print yellow ink on yellow paper without embossing. That’s a possibility as long as we do the printing at uni and not in a professional place because then we can’t have a different paper stock for the divider. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the decisions will be about the production.

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