How Engraving Works
Engraving is a pressure process that transfers ink directly from an engraving plate onto the paper. Automatic presses can run at speeds between 4,000-5,000 impressions/hour. Hand-fed presses are much slower (1,000 impressions/hour is good), but more practical for a small run, such as an invitation or note card.
Opaque pigments, true metallics. Engraving inks are more opaque than lithography inks. Because of this, it’s great for small or fine type. It’s also great for printing a light color (white, cream, or aqua) on a dark stock, or for printing tone-on-tone. We mix metallic inks in-house by combining metallic particles (gold, silver, copper) with a clear substance called an “extender.” Burnishing, which counts as its own press pass, makes surfaces engraved with metallic inks smoother and shinier. For large areas, we may recommend screening the art within the die floor, to avoid ink puddling.
Why We Love It
It’s tactile. It is traditional and elegant, but can look casual and even hip. We can engrave on stocks that can’t go through a litho press. Metallic inks, when engraved, look like jewelry.
Photos: Glenn Schuster