Here at PaperCrush, we love meeting with newlyweds-to-be who have an appreciation for the quality of their wedding stationery and of our printing methods, as it will be a keepsake to cherish for years to come. So it comes as no surprise that one of the most common questions we get is the difference between letterpress and foil printing! 

In this post, we will walk you through the two traditional printing methods–letterpress and foiling–their similarities, and their unique qualities.

The Ultimate Guide to Letterpress and Foil Printing



Long before the time of mass production and smartphones, reading material was printed on large metal machines, dating back to the early 15th century.

Letterpress - Heidelberg Press

Think of this historic method of printing like a stamp! Letterpress uses a metal plate of your unique artwork and is inked on the raised surface. Once pressure is applied, your artwork is stamped on to the paper, leaving a dreamy, three-dimensional impression.

Printing in One or Multiple Colors

When it comes to letterpress color options, the sky’s the limit! One-color prints are standard, but two- and three-colored prints are available upon request. With letterpress, each color requires its own metal plate. While the process of using multiple colors can take longer, it can lead to extraordinary results!


Foil printing is very similar to letterpress—just without the ink! Foiling also uses a metal plate of your unique artwork, but with the addition of heat to transfer the foil to the paper. This leaves your stationery with a metallic, elegant finish that has made foiling the prized printing method that we know and love.

Foil Printing for Wedding Invitations


While foil stamping is a bit more expensive than letterpress, the results will leave you (and your guests!) with a wow-worthy keepsake! One of our favorite features of foil printing? The color and shine changes based on the light the foil is reflecting!

Foil Color Options

Foil colors currently offered by PaperCrush are:

Foil Printing Color Options

Tip: If you’re looking to achieve a truly opaque white for your invites, foil printing is definitely the way to go.

Why Not Just Go Digital?

The standard method of printing, known as digital printing and often referred to as “flat” printing, does not leave an impression like letterpress or foil stamping, rather the ink is laid smoothly on top of the paper. While the rest of the world has gone digital, we still believe in the beauty and elegance of traditional printing! 

Which Printing Method Is Right For Your Wedding Invites

Letterpress Printing
Foil Printing

If you want a light-colored design on dark paper, choose foil.
Foil is opaque and will show up the same regardless of whether the paper is light or dark. On the other hand, letterpress ink is slightly transparent by nature and will appear muted on dark paper. 

If you are looking for a metallic, shiny effect, choose foil.
As you’ll see in the images above, foil printing leaves a metallic, shiny effect that gives it a luxurious, sheen finish, while letterpress will be completely matte. Note that matte foil options are available!

If you’re looking for the more budget-friendly option, choose letterpress.
The process of foiling has a higher material and setup cost than letterpress.

If you want a more profound impression, choose letterpress.
A unique feature of letterpress is the deep matte impression it leaves on the paper. Many love that they can actually feel the design when running their hands over their stationery.

We hope this ultimate guide to letterpress and foiling leaves you feeling like a printing expert! All of our stationery can be finished by either of these techniques. As a boutique studio, we pride ourselves on quality and craftsmanship, and we look forward to working with you to bring your stationery dreams to life!


Pin this post to reference later!


The Ultimate Guide to Letterpress and Foil Printing