What a Happy New Year - Blog | Letter Press

February 5, 2015

2015 has started with a big boost to orders, particularly wedding stationery, where online sales have grown by 60% year on year. Come and meet the team responsible for getting all this fantastic work out!


Carly and Sue (above) run the Sales and Pre-Press  Department between them, dealing with queries from private customers and shops and advising customers on the etiquette of wedding stationery, the pricing of invitation orders and the various different print processes we are able to offer for anything from correspondence cards and headed stationery to Menus and Table Plans. Carly runs our Sales Desk and is responsible for logging on orders on our online database, as well as quoting for bespoke work and dealing with payments. Any time left over is taken up with typesetting! This area, however, is run by Sue (right), who uses her many years experience with Adobe Creative Suite to turn our customers' dreams into print. She will be your point of contact for discussing and approving proofs and tracking jobs until they go downstairs to print.


Still upstairs: Leila, incidentally the daughter of our landlord, runs our Accounts Department, dealing mainly with the many shops which sell printing from The Letter Press. She has been with The Letter Press for a number of years, in a variety of roles, so much so that she has a broad experience of our whole production from pre-press to finishing and despatch: this makes her invaluable for helping out at holiday periods. Mostly, though, she is our SAGE controller and Master of PROTX!


Downstairs now to the engine room: the press proper, where we print the Personal, Wedding and Social Stationery ranges by a mixture of methods: letterpress, litho or hot-foil, with finishes such as raised thermographic print or indented letterpress, allowing the typeface to dig into the surface of the board and leave an impression in the board. This very tactile effect used to be frowned on in the classic years of letterpress printing, as it wore out the lead type very quickly: any apprentice putting too much impression on the job would soon find himself out on his ear! Adrian, above, has many years experience as a letterpress printer . He is shown next to one of our three Heidelberg platens, sturdy old letterpress machines which never seem to die! Mark, below right , also prints letterpress as well as hot-foil, now increasingly popular as it offers a huge range of colours beyond silver and gold, and gives you the opportunity of printing on dark coloured boards from our Colorplan range. Mark is our longest serving member of staff, having started with us some time in the last millenium.

Below left is Chris, our litho printer. Chris came to us from a big commercial litho press, dealing with print runs going into the 50,000s, but has adapted well to our curious world of quality bespoke printing, where we regularly deal with print runs as low as 5! He is shown operating a Ryobi 3200; he also runs our Heidelberg GTO, a high quality machine on which we print our long colour runs. You will notice that Chris has a very slim build: indeed, this is a man of legendary cycling prowess, who has been known to peddle up to Yorkshire and back over a weekend! The 13  mile commute from Stroud is a doddle in comparison - indeed, Chris has been known to run it on a summer morning or two.


Printing, however, is just half the story: Finishing  is where it really happens, where the ribbons are tied and the gilt edges applied. The Finishing team below is led by Renée, helped by Dani and Roly, who between them have over twenty years experience in the job. Many of the finishing processes, such as ribboning or the tissue lining of envelopes, are neccesarily very time consuming, and quality is always a major issue: it is here that jobs are stopped if we feel they are not up to scratch, and sent back to the print room for reprinting. The large majority of jobs though come through, are carefully boxed, packaged and given to our couriers for delivery to our customers.


Finally, digital printing, and back upstairs. This is run by Jasper, above right, who combines this role with also working in Finishing , as well as beginning training on typesetting - like many staff at The Letter Press, he will end up having a wide experience of many areas from production and finishing to pre-press and customer service. Digital colour printing has an important role to play in the production of table name cards, seating plans and personalised place cards, as well as Christmas cards and wedding thank you cards which carry the photos of bride and groom. Quality is high, and for short run work digital is ideal.

There is one remaining area - me and my office. However it is such a mess I fear it would give the wrong impression, so I'll leave that door firmly closed! However, if you would like a virtual tour of the Press, have a look at our Google page.

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