I typeset and printed about 160 copies of a simple wedding invitation for friends who were getting married. It was a lot of fun, and great to contribute something hand-made to their ceremony... hopefully I didn't stress my friends out too much by taking longer than I expected to make the inviations.

I didn't know how to make polymer plates at the time-- while they lack a some of the intimate connection to the physical process that you get from lead type, they make layout easier and avoid amusing problems like "I don't have enough of this letter left in this font and face-- how can I slightly rephrase to use a different word?". I certainly recommend plates for anything deadline-sensitive or commercial... they're what almost all the professionals I know use for everything.

(does anyone care that the digital versions of Garamond aren't exactly true to the original 16th-century lead versions?)


The lead type, set on the bed of the press-- a mix of Park Avenue and News Gothic, with an ornate ampersand from some other font.

A Vandercook 15 floor press (simpler to adjust and clean than many floor presses, but fewer bells and whistles). Drawers of type in the background.

A quick jig I made to help tear a slightly-ragged rough edge on each invitation (after cutting the paper down to size-- I started with 22" x 30" sheets).

My friends "prototyped" several borders and layouts to decide what they generally wanted.

A quick carbon-paper proof to look at different curly fonts for the names.

The invitation! (Printed on a thick 240g Johannot paper made of cotton and esparto, mounted on a red backing sheet)

I used an ink made from linseed oil and carbon black. It was a bit sticky, so the invitations needed to dry separated.

All 160 invitations fit loosely in an ArtBin.

The invitations, background papers, and blank reply card paper (cut down from large 20"x30" sheets of paper on a gloriously sharp paper cutter).



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