Picking up with the What to expect series today we’ll be discussing large coverage areas and floods.  Below is a business card design by Vanessa of NESS Design. It is a 2/1 letterpress business card printed on 220# paper. Vanessa’s cards got a really great ink coverage because of a few things.

Her knocked out type was built up with extra stroke wight so that we could flood the press with a LOT of ink and by the time the letters started to fill in they were back to their “normal” weights. Serifed typography is a lot harder to work with and isn’t recommend (especially when small). If you want to knock out of a flood color area (knock-out meaning that the type is white or image area is white with ink surrounding it) then stick to imagery or typography that can be bulked with a stroke or two – that extra padding will make a huge difference in how your print turns out.

Another advantage to flooding with Vanessa’s cards was the selection of a lighter ink value for her cards. Lighter colors usually flood more evenly. The reason behind this is that all inks are transparent. With transparent inks, large coverage areas, and a textured paper can often have the flecks and texturing show through, lending a “salty” look to the pieces being printed. The darker the ink color, the more evident the salty look. While the press can be run with a double strike (run through the press twice) you can run into registration problems and more waste. You can also set up your press to ink the forme twice before printing, however this can be time consuming and add to your labor costs as well.

Ultimately if you are considering a flood or large inked up area, know that there will be variables. Letterpress is much different than offset in that way. Stay tuned for the other half of flood printing where we’ll go over paper selection if printing a flood!

Letterpress printed on 220# lettra paper, 2/1 pantone inks, trimmed to 2×3.5″ – For a set of your own, get an estimate, we’d love to work with you! If you have questions about a file, you can also email it over and we would be happy to advise.