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Stationery Imprinting Techniques

5 Mar

printYou may have noticed different printing terms used on our website and in the industry.  There are a number of different methods for printing stationery, invitations, business cards and more to achieve a particular look and feel.  One method is not necessarily any better or worse than another.  They are a personal preference.  But for those that love the world of stationery, here are some main details that differentiate between the mainstream printing styles.

Embossing
mar-printing-techniques-embossed-200x200The process to create an embossed image is to create a metal die of your imprint, whether your imprint is a name or monogram or design.  That die is pushed from the bottom up into the paper to create a raised image.  You can feel the image when you rub your hands over the stationery.  The note cards are done one by one for this special process.  You may have heard the term blind embossed, which simply means the imprint has no color, it’s simply the crisp imprint pushed into the paper stock.  Embossing can be on white or ivory paper stock but can also be on colored stocks.  Embossing creates an understated, elegant image perfect for everything from business use to social use.

Raised Printing known as Thermography
mar-printing-techniques-thermo-200x200The process of thermography was developed to achieve a less expensive version of engraving.  To create this look the imprint is printed on the paper stock with ink and, prior to the imprint drying, a very fine powder is sprinkled over it.  The paper is then placed in a heated oven to set the powder and dry the ink which leaves a slightly raised, slightly shiny imprint.  The powder is then wiped clean from the paper stock leaving a very sophisticated look and feel to the product.  The process of thermography is perfect for note cards, letter sheets, invitations, business cards and thank you notes for formal events, everyday social use and for business.

Flat Printing 
mar-printing-techniques-flat-200x200As its name implies, with flat printing the ink lays completely flat on the surface of the paper. It is the most popular style of printing and is used on almost all notepads, most holiday cards and many types of note cards.  Flat printing can create rich, stunning colors and patterns.  Flat printing can be done on either traditional offset printing presses or modern digital presses. It is neither raised like thermography nor depressed like letterpress. Flat printing can be used for everything from single color imprints all the way up to full-color photo reproductions. These printers are run by highly trained press operators to bring complex and colorful designs to life. With a desire from designers to print gorgeous full-color patterns and imprints now greater than ever, flat printing is the perfect solution.

Foil Stamping
mar-printing-techniques-foil-200x200Adding some shine to printed paper stock is referred to as foil stamping.  The process of fusing foil to paper can create beautiful accents on stationery, invitations and holiday cards.  For a touch of shimmer a metal die of the desired imprint is produced.   The die is used to push a thin sheet of foil into paper stock through a process of pressure and heat which leaves the desired foil imprint fused onto the paper.  Foil for this purpose is available in many colors. A real foil accent can add a brilliant touch to personalized items.  There are also many items which use a matte foil.  This technique is very useful for printing lighter colors over dark paper.

Letterpress
mar-printing-techniques-letterpress-200x200To create a letterpress imprint, a metal die is created and a specific type of quality soft cotton paper stock must be used.  The die is positioned in a special press for this process.  As the paper moves through the press, the ink color is pushed directly into the elegant, paper stock, from the top of the card down, to create a crisp impression and an elegant feel.  This is an old world process and requires a specialty printer to accomplish it correctly.  When you rub your hands over an item created via letterpress you will feel a depressed imprint.  Letterpress stationery, invitations and other items denotes personal and professional style.  The color, weight and texture of the paper are all part of the presentation. Letterpress items add a rich impression to stationery, business cards, invitations and more. Every sheet of stock is pressed individually for a subtle but exquisite touch of luxury.  Typically letterpress is done in one color imprint but a two color imprint is available which requires two metal dies and two passes through the press.

Engraving
mar-printing-techniques-engraving-200x200This is one of the oldest and most elegant methods of printing.  Specifically, engraving starts by creating a reverse etching of an image onto a copper plate. Then, ink is applied to the plate and paper is pressed into it, creating a raised image on the front of the paper stock.  The process of engraving can print gold, silver and other metallic ink colors, a light colored ink on a darker colored stock, or most any other colored ink on a lighter colored stock.  You can tell if an item is engraved as you can feel and see a slight indentation on the back of the item where there was pressure on the stock.  Engraving can be done on products from note cards to invitations business cards.  It is a manual hand-process.  Each time the stock is pressed, a new piece needs to be fed into the machinery by hand.  Engraved items will be more expensive than thermographed product as there needs to be a metal plate produced and, as mentioned, the printing process is manual.  However, plates can be used over and over again reducing that initial investment.  If you are someone who appreciates an elegant product, engraving may be a perfect option for you.

Best wishes,

Renee

 

Giving Back this Holiday Season

10 Dec

I love this time of year.  Getting together with friends and loved ones, finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list and what do I enjoy the most?  Giving back.  Every year at The Stationery Studio we host a coat drive to help those in need.  This year, we were presented an opportunity to help some students who didn’t have any coats at all.  For anyone who’s experienced winter in Chicago, you know that you need a winter coat.  We asked everyone at our office to help out and purchase new coats for these kids.  We were thrilled that so many employees brought in new (and gently used) coats for our coat drive.

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The coats were delivered to the school the week of Thanksgiving and the kids were thrilled to get new coats for the upcoming winter.  We donated almost 200 coats!

tss-coatDrive-2015

You can see the “sea” of coats behind a few of our employees who posed with them before they were delivered.  I love being a part of a company that not only values their employees but cares about our community as well.  Let me know how you give back during the holidays.  I love hearing stories of how others are inspired to help their communities.

Best,

Jennifer

Happy 21st Anniversary To Us

25 Sep

tss-history-blog-002bIt seems impossible to believe that our website begin 21 years ago.  Can you imagine a world without emails or websites?  It was all new at that time.  Large corporations were just putting email systems in place.  The late 1980’s saw the first authorized use of commercial email on the Internet.  We started as a very small little company in 1994.  At that time, we were completing personalized order forms by hand.  Then we were faxing in orders to factories.  No one emailed in orders.  We were a one-person company with some friends and family volunteers to help from time to time.

tss-history-blog-001Back in the day, we took our product images with a Kodak camera that had a floppy disk.  We inserted the floppy into our first computer and after probably 5 minutes the image appeared on the screen and we loaded it into our back end system.  We were using a store-bought application for our website in the early days.  We had few choices for website graphics, colors, styles and typestyle.

Time passed, we grew slowly and steadily, and we continued to add more and more products like stationery, gift stickers, notepads, and even hand-painted ceramic piggy banks.  We learned through trial and error.  As one of the premier personalized stationery and gift websites on the internet, we had few competitors at the beginning.  We soon grew out of our internet solution as we needed the tools to be more flexible for the types of products we sold.  We hired professional developers to create a custom application for our website, which was a very big deal at the time.  We were growing.  Fast.

We were a trailblazer in this industry and, in many ways, still are.  We still operate by adding products one by one, giving personal care to each item in our selection, providing unique product options for many items, and creating boutiques online to show the items off, just the way we’d like to see them if we were a retail store.  Our staff has grown, too, with many professionals joining our family, and adding their special touches to the look and feel of the website, the product images, the graphics, work flow of the website, the services we provide to our customers, and more. Several of our original staff members are still with our company and are as indispensable as ever.

tss-history-blog-003Starting with a website that boasted 50 products 21 years ago in a corner of our living room, to the present as we feature a comprehensive selection of over 20,000 personalized stationery and gift items, with over 10,000 visitors daily, has truly been a process.  We moved to a nice large modern facility and have a full team supporting the 24/7 business.  However some things never change. Our specialty niche and daily responsibilities are still the same as they were on day one:  to provide excellent service, quality products and competitive pricing.

We treat every order with care, with several customer service team members checking the details as it moves through the process.  We answer customer’s emails very quickly.  We answer our phone and help customers personally.  We have a skilled team of customer service representatives (who also love personalized items, I might add!) and get excited about helping customers create their great orders.  And we go out of our way to assist with special requests.

Creating wonderful personalized products is what we do.  All of the products we offer are made in the USA.  And we keep many factories humming with the volume of orders that we produce.  We love all the repeat customers that return to us time after time.  We enjoy the growth we have experienced and are grateful to our customer base.  It’s been an exciting 21 years and it’s time to celebrate!

Looking forward to what the next twenty years will offer!

Best wishes,

Renee