Pros and Cons of Custom Letterpress Business Cards

Pros and Cons of Custom Letterpress Business Cards

The paperless world that they predicted in the 1990s never quite came to pass. Contrary to what many would have thought at the time, traditional printing methods have experienced a resurgence in recent years, especially among younger generations craving for things that are just a bit more “real” than ones and zeros. And just as vinyl and cassette tapes have found new life, so too have custom letterpress business cards.

Business cards have become more commonplace and more varied in design ever since the print-on-demand boom of the 2000s, which democratized access to all kinds of specialized print products. But why have letterpress business cards and other types of cards that attempt to imitate letterpress designs become so much more popular?

In order to find out why letterpress has become a go-to option, it’s useful to learn about the pros and cons of letterpress printing for business cards.

Pros of Custom Letterpress Business Cards

Letterpress printing humanizes your business cards

In a world where people are increasingly alienated from each other, being able to convey humanity in our communications is incredibly important. Real letterpress printing that uses movable type or custom print plates introduces minor imperfections into the print that can add a charming, down-to-earth vintage quality on your business cards. Many people respond positively to this, even if they may not realize why exactly the cards seem different from other business cards they receive.

The tactile quality of letterpress cards makes them easier to remember

One of the oldest tricks of the print trade is that the feel of your prints is almost as important as the sharpness of the letters and images. Adding a tactile element to your cards encourages recipients to hold them longer; increasing the chances they will be kept or read. The added texture can also strengthen positive impressions the recipient may have about you.

For this reason, heavier cardstocks with more pleasant textures and finishes have long been favored by those in the know when it comes to their business cards. Using the letterpress process to intentionally create indentations into your cards takes this idea even further, by giving them an even more prominent tactile quality.

They impart a classic, Old World impression

This is both in the literal and figurative sense. The look and feel of a real letterpress card conjure up Old World sensibilities, tradition, and stability. That may not necessarily be true about your brand, but they are qualities that many would wish their business cards could convey. With many personal and business brands today trying to show those qualities, it’s no wonder custom letterpress cards have become so popular.

Letterpress business cards stack
photo credit: Joshua Lipka / Behance

Cons of Custom Letterpress Business Cards

They’re a bit more expensive

Because of the specific knowledge and level of craftsmanship involved, creating real letterpress cards can be expensive, and quite slow, at least when compared to regular offset or digitally printed cards. This has led some printing companies to offer faux letterpress cards that attempt to imitate the look, but really, the only way to get the real, tactile benefits of letterpress is to use the real letterpress process.

What other pros and cons can you share? We’d love to know.

Cover photo credit: Blush / Behance

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