Which Should I Choose: Deboss or Letterpress?

Which Should I Choose: Deboss or Letterpress?

When choosing your paper you probably have a lot of confidence in deciding between what shades of blues, whether to opt for round corners or whether to add that extra foil shimmer effect. These are easy choices. Yet some such specialties you could add to your order are not so easy for the average customer to understand. You don’t want to miss out on a great specialty that would enhance your next wedding invite or business card just because you skimmed over the options not knowing what they meant or the difference between them.

Letterpress and Debossing are two such similar yet very unique types of specialties the average person may never have heard of. Let’s explore the details of these specialties to better inform your next purchase. 

Letterpress…a little explanation

Letterpress is a “relief” effect. This means the paper has a raised feel and look to it. Using one metal plate, the impression is pressed into the paper in shapes, letters or any design. The resulting raised affect gives the paper a 3D look. Ink can be imprinted with the design to give it an even more striking effect. Many customers opt for no ink, this leaves a colorless raised effect. It is pleasing, as the eye is drawn to the grain of the paper. This is called a “blind impression”. 

Originally, the letterpress effect was done by hand, each type pressed firmly into the paper. Modern day print shops, like ours at Gold Image Printing, have industrialized the process. We now use much more efficient printers that automatically do the pressing. This modernization of the printing process gives a precise look and speeds up the process at the same time. 

With the current age of artisan appreciation, the popularity of letterpress printing has re-emerged. The look is highly popular in wedding invitations, greeting cards and the like. The age of digital effects has lost its charm. People long for something tactile, that hints of a time when handcrafted and personal artistry was respected. Letterpress reminds us of that time.

Why we love Letterpress

We recommend letterpress for any high-class, elegant affair. Having the wedding of your dreams? Planning an important business conference? The letterpress effect on any card, poster, or hang-tag will transform the product into one of sophistication.

Many of our customers opt for thicker paper. Letterpress works well with thicker paper, as it is able to neatly press into any thickness. Another benefit of letterpress printing is the versatile nature of the effect. From school posters to mini business cards, the letterpress effect will work for any order. Customers often comment on the pleasing feel of the letterpress. Most paper products will be handled by your recipient. The physical surface of the card will leave a favorable impression on your recipients. 

Deboss … a little explanation

Debossing is, in some ways, the opposite of letterpress. Deboss means the text or design is pressed down into the paper. The image is “depressed” into the paper stock. This does not disturb the back of the card, but simply allows the front of the paper to have an indented feel. Ink can then be poured into these depressions if the customer would like a color option. The depressed areas can even be filled with a foil. You may have seen this recessed reliefs on seals and notarized documents. Thus debossing may conjure up a more professional, special occasion-like feel. 

Why we love Deboss

Debossing is such a delightful effect. It announces from the page, especially if you add color. The debossing technique allows you to easily add color to the debossed areas without running over into other areas, ruining your paper product. This effect is also more unique. Many specialty processes you will see will be the raised affect. Your product will stand out, as it is less common to see images and texts depressed into the paper. Paired with ink or even foil stamping, debossed products tend to be a fan favorite. 

How they compare

Letterpress and deboss are different. Letterpress is raised, while deboss is indented. Letterpress is more a quaint look, while deboss is more formal and official. If economy is what you are hoping for, letterpress and debossing do vary in price. At Gold Image Printing, we excel at balancing reasonable printing prices with high quality. Letterpress runs a bit pricier but not by much. Make your decision more based on what the look of your card is. 

Summary of Letterpress Benefits

  • The pleasing feel of the raised images and text
  • The quaint, artisan look that helps us recall vintage print shop days  and handcrafted work
  • The ink or no ink options that allow for different looks
  • The air of sophistication the final result yields

Summary of Debossing Benefits

  • The price is a bit lower
  • The more unique impressed look versus the raised looks of letterpress 
  • The professional look
  • The clean process of filling it in with color


 Overall, a business card or invite that has depth will be much more attractive and stand out among other more standard products. Both letterpress and deboss offer such depth. Whether you decide to go with a handcrafted artisan like letterpress or the sophisticated, recessed debossing, your paper product will have your customers wishing for more. 

An example of a stunning deboss business card. Check it out in our business card printing services.

What products do you offer in either specialty?

We are glad you asked. Check out our deboss business cards. Imagine your logo and company name imprinted, inkless, onto one of our high-quality paper stocks. Your customers will run their fingers over the subtle grooves of the indented feel and forever remember your brand. 
We are also very proud of our letterpress wedding invitations. Harkening back to an age of careful, and caring handcrafted work. Our letterpress wedding invites whispers of class and elegance that will fit your dream wedding. Don’t stop there. Peruse our letterpress business cards, deboss business cards, letterpress hang tags, letterpress greeting cards, deboss wedding invitations, letterpress notecards and more!