Letterpress is a centuries-old printing technique that works by rolling a sheet of paper over wooden blocks with ink-covered letters on them. The result is a very organic and vintage-looking design where letters are slightly imprinted onto the page. Although it’s been around for hundreds of years, letterpress has seen a bit of a revival recently, emerging as the style of choice for printed keepsakes such as wedding invitations and cards. It’s proved so popular that Apple even offers a letterpress-printing option for materials made in iPhoto.
One drawback of letterpress printing is that it is expensive – as it’s a relatively ancient printing technique that takes a lot of skill. Finding a well-produced, inexpensive letterpress print is hard to come by. Fortunately for us iPad owners, and thanks to a very well-funded Kickstarter project, we have LetterMpress to create authentic letterpress-style prints in a fun, hands-on app.
There’s plenty of ways to make good use of LetterMpress but one of the simplest and most effective is to use it to create a memorable, vintage-style party invitation.
Much like a real letterpress, LetterMpress can be a little fiddly to use at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll be turning out designs as fast as the professional printers. So fire up the app and let us guide you through the basics of making your own letterpress invitation.
Tap on the Type & Art tab along the bottom of the app to open the type drawer. Here you can choose between 15 different typefaces and a range of different icons and symbols.
Use a pinch gesture to scale letters up and down and a twist gesture to rotate them. When happy with their positioning, double-tap to set them in place on the press bed or triple-tap to remove.
The best letterpress posters have a strong headline. For the purposes of an invitation, a single word spanning the full width of the bed describing the event like ‘Party’ works well at the top of your page.
If you’re looking for a way to create a uniform space between lines, tap the Furniture icon and drag in the spacers from the drawer. They’re numbered according to thickness. Double-tap to set in place.
Bring up the fonts drawer and click on one of the shape collections such as Dingbats to add some fun shapes – it’s a great way to break up lines of text and give it a more celebratory feel.
Once you’re happy with how your design is looking on the press bed, drag the lockup bar to hold all of your type in place. Then tap its handle to lock it and make sure it won’t move again.
Tap Print at the bottom of the app. From here you can choose what colour ink to use by tapping the Ink icon. You can do as many different applications of different colours as you wish.
Now you’ve got your ink colour, it’s time to choose some paper. Tap the Paper icon and scroll through the different types. Once you’ve found one you like double-tap it to add it to the press.
Once you’ve completed your letterpress invitation (you can start the printing process by dragging the large handle at the top) you can share it via email, add it to your iPad’s photo album, or print it out.
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This tutorial is the first in our Learn iPad Week series; for more articles just like this, visit the Learn iPad Week tag. At the end of the week, we’ll be giving away a prize to one lucky person who gets in touch with a question or problem related to the iPad. To get involved, simply tweet your question, plus the hashtag #LearniPadWeek, to @iCreateMagazine or post on our Facebook wall.