Traditional printing techniques foil printing and letterpress score high

Traditional printing techniques

Authenticity and traditions are still high on the agenda. Does your company want to exude class and expertise? Then you need look no further than artisanal printing techniques such as foil printing or letterpress. Organizations such as Zilte, Tomorrowland, QUUP are making eager use of it. The printed matter is given a special look-and-feel that exhibits an exceptional sense of sophistication and quality.

Traditional printing,
how does that work?

What is foil printing?

Foil (or hotfoil) printing is an up-and-coming artisanal printing technique that dates back to the 19th century. You can compare it somewhat to letterpress, since the production process works more or less on the same principle: a cliché – a brass template of your design – is pressed into the paper at a high temperature. Only instead of ink (letterpress), a thin film layer is used. The effect is sublime: your printed matter will have a classy look.

Gold foil and silver foil

The most popular foil colors are gold foil and silver foil. So is foil printing by definition glossy? No way: the colors and finishing possibilities are unlimited. You can go for matte foil, holographic foil, transparent foil, laser foil, metal foil or mirror foil. If you want, we’ll even create a custom film or apply texture. Or we combine foil printing with letterpress, so that your printed matter is not only pleasing to the eye, but also feels wonderful under the fingertips.

Foil printing applications

Foil printing is very popular in business cards and occasion printing such as wedding and birth cards. But much more can be done: for example, your book design takes on a completely different cachet with gold or silver foil on the cover. Or does packaging jump out at you thanks to a shiny logo. Moreover, foil printing can be done on any paper size: from 100 x 150 mm to 570 x 820 mm. In short: do not be limited by ignorance, but go exploring, since there is so much that can be done.

Do you have questions about foil printing? Contact our foil printing expert Inge for your next printing project.

What is letterpress?

Letterpress is the official English name for letterpress, an artisan printing technique that is now five centuries old and has been fully revived in recent years. It is the predecessor of foil printing, where ink is used in place of foil to transfer the print image to the carrier (usually paper). Sometimes people also speak of type printing or relief printing, names that in turn refer more to the process behind them. This is because with letterpress, a tactile relief is printed into the paper.

It used to be done with wooden or lead letters that were first set by hand and then printed. Nowadays we use a cliché, a kind of printing stamp that we forcefully press into the paper using ink. A deeper print is created that gives your printed matter a very tangible character. Moreover, letterpress also paved the way for derivative techniques such as foil printing, blind embossing and intaglio.

Letterpress actually used to be failed printing

The development of letterpress is actually the result of an interaction between luck and chance. Indeed, initially letterpress was not seen as a printing technique per se. A good printer printed without impression, so the ink lay wrinkle-free flat on the paper. If relief was still noticeable, the printing was considered “failed.

It is only after the craft of typesetting was replaced by computerized techniques such as offset and digital printing that letterpress gained real appreciation. With offset and digital presses you can’t create relief; letterpress presses obviously can, which helps explain the success of this revival.

Letterpress applications

Letterpress is a feast for the eyes as well as the fingertips. Not for nothing is it wildly popular for occasional printing such as wedding and birth announcements. You can go even further with the technique, especially for exclusive printing.

Consider a design where a text or image lies deeper in the paper, drawing all the attention to itself. Or perhaps blind embossing is for you: letterpress without ink, providing subtle detailing. The nice thing is just that pretty much anything is possible, regardless of the paper size. In our workshop we have several machines for just about any size, from 10 x 10 mm to 570 x 820 mm.

We like to think
with you!

So is there a special project on the shelf that deserves that extra touch? Then consider the enormous versatility of traditional printing techniques foil printing & letterpress. Contact our foil printing and letterpress expert Inge Cools for all your questions or help with your next printing project.


In addition to that new corporate identity, we make sure your brand is seen, recognized, sticks and encourages purchase. The experts in our creative studio have a combined 650 years of experience. You’ll notice it right away.

Approach 1

1. The word is yours

Tell us what you have in mind. Since every business is different, it is important in the first stage to get to know each other well.

Approach 2

2. Inspiration

We shower you with inspiration and work with you to make the best decisions for your identity.

Approach 3

3. Quote

Is there a click? Then we will make you an offer.

Approach 4

4. Production

Woohoow! Time for the real thing! Had you always wanted to walk around a print shop? Then feel free to stop by during the production of your printing.

Approach 5

5. Implementation

It doesn’t stop at “printing.” Finishing, delivery, distribution, installation…. You name it, we do it. You may ask us EVERYTHING.