Letterpress is a printing technique that embeds the artwork into the paper. The plates used in letterpress printing are called relief plates, meaning that the image area to be printed is raised from the surface of the plate. The press operator handsets and hand inks the plates that are used to imprint the designs and lettering onto the paper. The letterpress works to sink the image into the surface of the paper, creating a textured, 3 dimensional design. The technique of letterpress printing began in the mid 1400s with the invention of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg. For centuries, letterpress was the only method of printing used for reproduction.
The process of letterpress printing is a tedious labor-intensive craft that requires the utmost attention to detail. Today, after centuries of change and technological advances in printing methods, the processes and craft of letterpress printing have remained virtually unchanged.