Monday, February 13
Engraving, also known as Copperplate printing, is a centuries-old process commonly associated with fine script lettering and ornate illustrations. However, its precise and tactile effect still has creative potential, as it gives a well-defined reproduction of extremely fine typography or hairline imagery, with a characteristic raised effect.
The process is achieved by etching line art into a metal plate, applying opaque ink, and using extreme pressure to force the printing paper into contact with the recessed ink. Artwork is created on computer and then photochemically etched into the plate, but originally, and in certain circumstances today, the design is tooled by hand.
It is the extreme force (up to two tons per square inch) pressing the paper deep into the engraved areas of the printing plate that creates a subtle three-dimensional impression in the paper surface. And because the inks used are opaque, they produce a sharp, solid image, providing an opportunity for light-coloured inks to be printed on darker paper stocks.
It is important to remember that engraving is a bespoke service. So, to realise your vision accurately, always talk to your paper supplier and the team involved in production. But to begin with, we can offer some tips on getting the best result from the process.
To achieve even pressure across the image, it is recommended that the size of artwork should not exceed 125mm x 210mm.
Engraved images can be created with multiple colours; each will need a separate plate and a separate print pass.
Engraving can be combined successfully with other printing processes, normally as the last process.
Engraving is not suitable for printing large, solid image areas, as ink coverage may become uneven. If flat colour is a crucial aspect of your design, screen-printing may be a better alternative.