Calligraphy into a plate for letterpress

hi there

what are the steps you take to getting a file ready for a plate when you’ve done your own custom calligraphy? scan into photoshop? other suggestions to get the file ready? i’ve had issues with submitting files to boxcar press before for my plate.

thanks in advance!

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I use Illustrator. Photoshop doesn’t create the high quality necessary for plates. You really need a program that works with vector art.

Once you have the vector file sized to the appropriate dimensions, turn it into a PDF file, and send it to your platemaker!

Lauren…. I’ve used Photoshop to produce images for platemaking, and they’ve turned out just fine.

Graytin is partially right that Illustrator is better, but it’s expensive. The truth is that if you have a good .pdf of your file, and the contrast and resolution are right it doesn’t matter if it was done on Photoshop, Illustrator, or Corel Suite…… they’ll all make good plates.

A good bit of software that won’t cost you an arm and a leg (like Illustrator will)….. is Art Explosion’s “Publisher Pro”. It is a Corel clone that works like a charm, and costs about 1/4th what some of the other programs will cost you.

Photoshop will work fine. The images will need to be bitmaps (completely monochrome) and line-art looks best at a very high resolution. I would suggest no less than 600 dpi at the size you want it printed, but don’t have tonnes of PP experience.

I’ve made a few plates with calligraphy. I would recommend that the writing be a bit larger so when it’s scanned in and reduced the resolution will be tighter.

The last invitation I printed the calligrapher wrote each line separately and then taped those lines to a sheet of paper the way she thought they should appear and I scanned them in, ran it through live trace in Illustrator and it printed beautifully.

Inky Lips Letterpress

I found an expensive way to get a copy of Illustrator was to post an ad on Craigslist indicating that I wanted to buy a used/ older version. I got several offers and ended up picking one up for $35. Since I’m using it for vector drawing, an older version works very well.