Five Etsy Shops for Unique Letterpress Holiday Cards: This Year, Forget Hallmark

Dada-Letterpress-printLetterpress printing. If you don’t know what letterpress printing is, I am pleased to announce that I am about to BLOW YA MIIIND.

Well, I might be exaggerating a bit because I love type and I think everyone should.

This might be a good time to say: Hi! My name is Alex and I’m one of those, what do you call ’em, graphic designers? Yeah, one those people that have a LOT of feelings about kerning and IKEA switching their typeface from Futura to Verdana and Adam Lambert’s album cover, for example. I’m responsible for the design of a little website called Autostraddle.com… just sayin!

(Right: example of a hand-set letterpress poster print. Buy it from YeeHaw Industries here.)

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Anyway! Letterpress printing is the earliest form of printing text on paper. It’s a form of relief printing of text and image using a press in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper. The result is a design you can see and feel and it’s super nice and special. The machine and process was revolutionary to say the least and had remained in wide use for almost 500 years until the computer ruined everything.

movable type

(Movable type.)

YeeHAw Antique Letterpress Poster

(Example of a letterpress poster. Buy it from YeeHaw Industries here.)

A small amount of high-quality letterpress printing still remains, mostly for things like wedding invitations, stationery/identity materials, and… HOLIDAY CARDS!

I say: why buy generic Hallmark cards when you can get pretty holiday cards right off the smokin’ hot letterpress! I’ve been buying cards from various designers & printers on Etsy for the past two years and never looked back.

Here are a few designers and print shops I’ve taken a liking to, who feature beautiful letterpress work I found on Etsy:

Ink and Iron

Ink & Iron (who work under the name Pilot Press,) produce simplistic type designs for their holiday cards:

inkandiron1

InkandIron2

Vandalia Street Press

Vandalia Street Press has a collection of cute illustrative cards:

Vandalia Street Press

Vandalia Street Press 2

Yee-Haw Industries

This custom letterpress printmaking and design shop has an abundance of typographic vintage-y hand-made prints and over-sized postcards, either for the holidays or for naught!
Be sure to browse all 20 pages of their stuff… every piece is something special, for real.

YeeHaw Santa

YeeHaw I love You Cards

YeeHaw BiscuitsGravy

Letterpress Delicacies

The work of Letterpress Delicacies really shows the beauty of using a vintage letterpress to print a modern design. It’s so crisp!

Letterpress House cards

Letterpress PEace cards

Afavorite

Afavorite uses a combination good typography and clever puns. There’s lots more to see at their official site: afavoritedesign.com

afavorite

afavorite bingo card

afavorite holla days

Lucky Bee Press

There are cute letterpress illustrations on the holiday cards of Lucky Bee Press

LuckyBee birds

LuckyBee Holiday porcupines

As well as other letterpress-ed items like coasters!

LuckyBee coasters

Cofounder and Design Director of Autostraddle. Professional web/graphic designer. Whiskey enthusiast. Drumming hobbyist. A past speaker at the 2010 BlogHer Conference ("Good Blog Design: The Role of Layout in an Online Medium"), 2013 Salon LGBTQ Conference ("Innovative Best Practices for Brand-Blogger Campaigns") and featured in the Los Angeles Edition of Refinery29's 30 Under 30 in 2013. Co-owns and manages Tully's Training, a dog training company in Los Angeles. Twitter: @a_ex Instagram: alexxxvegaaa

Alex has written 120 articles for us.

21 Comments

  1. The world needs more appreciation of printmaking, thanks for posting this! Hallmark cards are so overpriced and impersonal that I usually avoid buying cards unless it’s for relatives or somewhere that they’re expected. I think I need to make a switch…
    I’m a big fan of “Happy HOLLA Days” and the Bingo one.

    • Oh I know… that poster made me so happy I had to include it somehow. That studio makes it using antique wood type I believe. Whatever you do, don’t buy them all out! I haven’t purchased mine yet!
      Also, thank YOU.

  2. This makes me feel a little less strange about the amount of time I spend obsessing over how my school assignments look. I love the way words look.
    These are beautiful, thank you.

  3. Hi Alex! I love your Technostraddling! This page is full of some amazing eyecandy. My holidays are always etsy + the Bust Craftacular, so I will def check these stores out! Also, what were your IKEA drama thoughts? I was pro-futura, but also my feelings weren’t too strong.

    Prob because I hate IKEA after all of my furniture has crumbled around me, leaving me in literal ruins.

  4. these are awesome! I wish i was super rich and could own a letterpress studio and just learn to print all day.
    Also just to say if anyone is ever in Colorado Springs, go to the Colorado College Press, its brilliant. They do posters for the plays and musicals etc at CC and theres lots of student work too and its all ace.

  5. I have an insane love for letterpress too! I get to design and make my own cards every year in my mother’s print shop. She’s the only artist there, and the equipment they use is old school like WHOA. I will probably buy stuff from these guys you linked to anyway though, because they are awesome.

  6. Wow these are ace, I particularly love the YeeHaw cards.
    Perfectly timed too – I always forget to purchase Christmas cards, so on Christmas Eve I usually have to make the 11.50pm dash of shame to K Mart to buy those ’10 for $5′ bulk packs that give more papercuts than they’re worth. So thank you, you’ve just helped me avoid another year of judgemental looks from gift recipients.

  7. As another graphic designer who ALSO is in love with Letterpress, I’m so glad that Etsy tweeted this article! This is a great collection you’ve put together, Alex! Now I know where I’m buying MY holiday cards.

    PS – I am one of those “has opinions on kerning and Ikea’s font change” people too. =)

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