A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.

Bruce Lee

Questions About Print

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The tops and tails of the numbers on my proof are higher than the rest of the printing. Why?

In traditional typesetting the tops and tails of the numbers (or, strictly speaking, figures) are known as ‘non-ranging’ – that is they rise above the lines formed by the top and bottom of the text. Many typographers think they are easier to read. But they can equally well be set with more modern ‘ranged’ type. The example below shows the New Baskerville typeface with non-ranging figures at the top and ranged figures underneath. numbers proofing

What is the difference between engraved printing and blind embossing?

Blind-embossing is simply engraved printing without ink. The text or image is raised from the paper but has no ink on it. Engraved printing is the same process, but the die from which the print is derived has been inked.

What are small and large capitals?

Often Roman typefaces have no lower case because Latin did not have lower-case letters. Our selection of typefaces contains examples that are upper case (small and large capitals), upper case (large capitals only), and upper and lower case.

What is plate-sinking?

Plate sinking is also known as de-bossing and is a technique in which an area of the card that is to be printed is stamped so that it is lower than the rest of the card. Text may then be printed or blind embossed onto it.

Can you print in metallic inks?

Yes, we can print in a variety of gold inks, silver and copper. They can then be burnished to really heighten the shine and metallic effect.

What is burnishing?

When using a metallic ink the printed text can be run through the press again and stamped against a piece of copper foil. This has the effect of brightening the colour that was originally printed.

Can I have my invitations gilt-edged?

Yes. Gold leaf is applied to the edge of the card as it was originally cut. Normally the edge to be gilded is bevelled so that the gilding is more apparent to someone looking directly at the card.

And round cornered?

Yes. Round-cornering is generally regarded as adding even more class to gilded invitations.

What is the difference between the various paper sizes?

There are two different types of size: metric and traditional.


European A4  European A5  European A6 
297 x 210 mm (11.76 x 8.26″) 210 x 149 mm (8.26 x 5.88″) 105 x 149 mm (4.13 x 5.88”)


Quarto Post Quarto Half Post Quarto
254 x 203 mm (10 x 8″) 229 x 178 mm (9 x 7″) 114 x 178 mm (4.5 x 7”)

Many people find Quarto and Post Quarto more convenient sizes for writing paper than their metric counterparts and this is the reason why these sizes evolved. A4 is often too big for a handwritten letter and A5 too small. Half Post Quarto makes a very convenient size for a card on which to write a note, especially for those with large handwriting, providing one-third more surface area than A6.

Will I see the proposed design of my paper before it is printed?

Yes, we produce a proof, which can be sent to you via email as a PDF or laser printed through the post.  Often we will produce several designs for you to choose between. We will make up to two alterations to these free of charge when they then become ‘author’s corrections’ and chargeable (unless, of course, the changes are our fault).

What is the die from which the stationery is printed?

The printing is produced from a steel or copper die into which the text to be printed has been engraved. While most dies can be produced semi-automatically, more complex ones, especially those which require a textured 3-D embossing, require hand-engraving.

Can you print coats of arms?

Yes, we often do, though there is an extra charge for producing the die. Most crests are fairly simple and can be produced by our normal method of engraving. Others, particularly those which are multi-coloured which require a plate to be created per colour, need hand-engraving and are more expensive.

What does the weight of the paper in GSM refer to?

GSM means grammes per square metre. It is an index of the thickness of the paper. Our Classic Letterhead paper is 120 gsm and correspondence card paper 300 gsm. The weight of card used for invitations can go up to 700 gsm.

Can I print on the paper using a laser printer?

Yes, our letterhead paper should go through a laser printer (please check your laser printer’s specification). All our inks are laser-proof.

How do I specify a special colour?

The standard printer’s method is by Pantone reference, which indexes a vast number of colours. Just let us have the reference number.

What is the difference between laid and wove paper?

Laid paper has a slightly ridged effect. It has two types of lines: laid lines go horizontally across the paper and chain lines run vertically. The effect is due to the mechanical process by which paper is made when the pulp is rolled with a ‘dandy reel’ to flatten it. This leaves the mark of the reel on it. (The same roller can be used to put watermarks in paper). All paper manufactured before the 19th century was laid. Wove paper is a more modern product and has a completely smooth finish.

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