Debossed prints for Brain Mill Press

Last week, I received an email about a rush letterpress job for a Wisconsin book printer. They were releasing a new publication and wanted something special for customers who pre-ordered the book.

I only had a few days to create the print, but luckily, they were flexible on the design, so I was able to use some of the vintage lead type I have in the shop, and they were very interested in the idea of a blind deboss, which means no waiting time for ink to dry. (Plus, inkless prints are a bit cheaper than regular ones, since I’m using fewer supplies and save quite a bit of time without inking and cleaning the press.) I’ve written about creating an impression before, and this design was absolutely perfect for creating a deep, sharp deboss.


I shuffled my schedule around a little and was able to complete these in time for their newsletter last weekend! Scroll down for more about the book and to see my bio!


Interested in a custom print for your corporate or personal life? Shoot me an email, let’s see what we can come up with!


As letterpress becomes more popular, more and more customers want their pieces to look LETTERPRESSED, by which I mean they want their design to be printed with a deep impression that they cannot only see but feel. That is the point of springing for letterpress isn’t it?

Results on my press can vary greatly and what I’m learning is that the design of the piece can influence the depth of the impression just as much as any adjustments I make on press. Some designs can only go so deep.

Take, for example, these two holiday cards I embossed a few years back. The design on the left is a busy, all-over design that consists of many very thin lines. When a plate like this is pushed into the paper, the paper has nowhere to go, no space to give to the design on the plate. The result is a relatively light impression, especially in the areas where the design is particularly concentrated.

The design on the left is much simpler, with slightly thicker lines and less of the paper covered with them. The result? A very clear, deep impression.