Letterpress Business Cards | Petite Press + The Foxes

Letterpress Business Cards | Petite Press + The Foxes

Our friend Sarah, who runs Petite Press, recently designed and printed some snazzy new letterpress business cards for us. This is how they were made. If you’ve ever wondered how letterpress printing works, here’s your chance to learn all about it from somebody who just learned all about it.



A couple weeks ago, we got to see a genuine, bonafide, vintage letterpress in action. It was fascinating. The craftsmanship, precision, and quality that was built into these hefty machines is just amazing. Like most letterpresses, this letterpress was built a long time ago – in 1915 to be precise. And it still works like a charm today. The uses of letterpresses have changed a bit over the years. Originally used to print books, they’re making a resurgence today in what has been coined the “Small Press Movement.” Things like letterpress business cards and wedding invitations are all the rage right now. Letterpress adds a crafty, lux finish that makes letterpress items really stand out from non-letterpress counterparts. We’re suckers for hand-made, artsy stuff, so getting some letterpress business cards was a dream-come-true.


We got to be a part of the letterpress process thanks to our good friend and climbing buddy, Sarah. She is a designer/printmaker/artist/letterpress extraordinaire and the founder of Petite Press, where she offers letterpress and design services. Her work is amazing and we’ve been ooo-ing and aaah-ing over it since we met her a couple years ago. So when she invited us over to her studio to watch the whole letterpress process go down, we were psyched.


Learn more about The Foxes Wedding Photography


By the way, Sarah drew up the Airstream mountain graphic printed on our business cards too – how awesome is that image?! Can you see the similarity to our 1972 Airstream Overlander? We loooove how she uses lines in her work to create movement and texture. It’s a common theme in her art, and if you like it, she has lots of prints you should check out. Later in this blog there’s a drawing of Aiko she did that is mindblowing.


Her studio is in the little mountain town of Lyons, Colorado, not far from Boulder. Sarah’s workspace is within The Corner Studios, which also doubles as a gallery, a home, a frame shop, and is just a really cool space with tons of character. If you’re in Lyons, we recommend dropping by. You’ll get inspired and want to make some art, guaranteed.



So, how does printing letterpress business cards work?

Great question, glad you asked. This was the first time we had seen a letterpress in action, and Sarah gave us the lowdown on how this beastly machine works. No doubt she would do a better job describing the process than I can, but I’ll give it a whirl. Basically, a letterpress makes an inked imprint on paper. The ink isn’t just printed, it’s pressed firmly into the paper, hence, letterpress. So you end up with a product that has both texture and the inked artwork or text. When you’re making things with a letterpress, you need some pretty thick paper. We went full on industrial-tree-trunk-fatty-paper so we could letterpress front and back. These are some beefy business cards, so you’re gonna think twice before throwing it away. You better.


The first order of business was to cut the paper into business card-sized pieces. Along with the letterpress, Sarah uses another vintage machine to cut paper. And much like the letterpress, this thing is a beast. It cut through stacks of this ultra-thick paper like a hot knife through butter. It was pretty satisfying. After we had our stacks of blank business cards, it was time to prep the letterpress and get down to business.


Literally everything about letterpress is handcrafted, and the process starts with the ink. Sarah whipped out her Pantone swatches and we picked out an ink color, a sexy dark green. She then pulled out some tubes of ink, squirted a mixture of black and green on a pallet, and began mixing. Soon, the ink was blended into our color of choice, sexy dark green.


Alright, so now it’s time to letterpress. Sarah spread the ink over a metal plate on the press, and fired it up the machine. A small motor, one of the modern additions to this vintage machine, rotates the large, spoked wheel, which in turn sets all the other parts in motion through a series of gears and hydraulics. Then, all the subsequent steps happen in a swift series of motions that you have to watch closely to understand.


Disclaimer: this is likely the least educated description of the letterpress printing process that you will find anywhere on the internet:


  1. The ink is smoothed across the plate by rollers, and the rollers get covered with ink.
  2. After the rollers are inked, they roll over the photopolymer plate, applying ink to it. The photopolymer plates adhere to an aluminum base called the Boxcar Base which sets everything at type-height
  3. The photopolymer plate is a relief of your design or text that is being printed. Anything you can design on a computer can be made into a photopolymer plate and letterpressed. It’s pretty cool. Back in the day, these plates were made of wood. But over the years, we have arrived at these photopolymer plates. For our business cards, we had one photopolymer plate made for the front graphic, and another one for the back. Boxcar Press made our photopolymer plates and did a really amazing job with the detailed graphic!
  4. So now that the photopolymer plate is inked, it can be pressed into the paper, creating an inked indent of the graphic. Some heavy pieces of metal come together and firmly press the paper against the photopolymer plate, and Voila! You have an inked and pressed piece of paper.
  5. The letterpress can press one piece of paper about every two seconds, so the operator has to be fast at removing and replacing piece after piece. Sarah is a seasoned pro and executed this motion with zen-like ease. Before we knew it, she had whipped through the entire stack.
  6. Then you switch out the photopolymer plate with the one for the back side and repeat the process.


It was so cool to see these business cards come together and hold the finished product for the first time. If we ever see you on the street, we’re gonna plant one of these suckers in your hand cause they’re just beggin’ to be passed out. Now we can be all businessy and networky and stuff. These letterpress business cards are going to let people know we mean business, pun definitely intended. And as a major bonus, Sarah had some extra blank coasters lying around that she volunteered to print our Airstream mountain graphic on. So we’ve got the business and the party covered 😉



THANK YOU SARAH for all the work you put into this, from designing this awesome new graphic to showing us how to letterpress. You are truly an amazing and amazingly talented human being. So psyched on our new business cards!


Check out the brand new, freshie fresh, Petite Press website. If you need a designer or want to have some baller wedding invitations made, Sarah is your person!

P.S. Gabi designed the website and it’s baller.


Check out the Petite Press!




 The Foxes are Brandon and Gabi Fox, an adventurous husband and wife elopement and wedding photography team living full-time in their DIY renovated 1972 Airstream. They are loosely based in the Pacific Northwest, but travel for work and play throughout the western states. Their work is best described as candid photography that captures couples as they are, where they are, blending images of love and natural beauty in the great outdoors.


The Foxes are Brandon and Gabi Fox, an adventurous husband and wife elopement photography team living and traveling in their DIY renovated 1972 Airstream. They are loosely based in the Pacific Northwest, but travel for work and play throughout the western states and beyond. Their elopement photography is award winning and is described as candid photography that captures couples as they are, where they are, blending images of love and natural beauty in the great outdoors. 



These Terms and Conditions are a legally binding agreement is between you (“Client”) The Foxes Photography, LLC (“Photographer”) (collectively the “Parties”, or in the singular “Party”), for the purpose of Client purchasing a custom photography album from Photographer. This Agreement shall become effective upon the date you complete the checkout process.


  1. Fees & Retainer

Client shall commit to a custom album package by signing and returning this Agreement along with the initial payment for album service. Photographer will not begin its custom album services until the Agreement is signed and the album design fee is received. No final album will be printed until the full payment is made. In the event Client fails to remit payment as specified, Photographer shall have the right to immediately terminate this Agreement with no further obligation and retain any monies already paid as liquidated damages. Full payment must be completed by Client within 60 days of this Agreement’s date.

The fees in this Agreement are based on Photographer’s current album pricing at the time of booking. The price list is adjusted periodically, and any changes to custom albums will be charged at the prices in effect at the time.

  1. Album Design Procedure

The following outline indicates the general procedure of a custom album design. Client understands and agrees to this procedure.

  1. Photographer will use photos and album specifications to create their first custom album design.
  2. Photographer will send Client first draft of album design.
  3. Client will approve or send in revisions to album design.
  4. Photographer will make edits to album design. Only two rounds of edits are allowed.
  5. Client will approve final album design.
  6. Photographer will send in album for printing.
  7. Album is printed and shipped.
  8. Client receives final printed album.
  1. Album Spreads

Albums will include 35 spreads and no less. The definition of a “page” is one side of a spread in an album (for example, a 70-page album contains 35 spreads). If Client requests more than 35 spreads, additional spreads are $50.00 each. 

  1. Revision Rounds

The first draft will include photos selected by the photographer and will be sent to Client for approval. Client may request modifications to be made. Photographer shall complete modifications and send the second draft of album design to Client. Client may then accept the design or request one more round of modifications. Photographer will complete this second modification request and send the final draft of album to Client. After these two rounds of revisions to the album design, no further revisions are allowed. Any additional revisions are invoiced at a rate of $75.00 per round. All additional revision rounds must be paid before the revision is made by the Photographer. Photographer requires up to 10 days to complete a revision request. Client has 50 days to send Photographer any and all revision requests. Any revisions requested by Client more than 50 days after this Agreement’s date will not be accepted by Photographer.

  1. Final Approval

Photographer will not place an album order with the album Manufacturer until Client approves the design draft, and the balance is paid on any upgrades or additional spreads. Client agrees to check the final album design very carefully before giving final approval. Once final approval is given, Photographer is not responsible for typos, image defects, duplicate images, or other errors that may have been missed. 

  1. Parent/Duplicate Albums

Parent/duplicate albums cannot be altered from the original designs. All parent/duplicate albums shall be ordered at the time of final approval of the original album design and will be invoiced and must be paid prior to Photographer sending in album for printing. No parent/duplicate albums are available after the original album ordering phase is complete.

  1. Album Delivery

Client understands and agrees that Photographer’s album manufacturer (“Manufacturer”) generally takes 6-8 weeks to print and manufacture the album. While every possible precaution is taken and Manufacturer has been selected by Photographer for its superb quality, Photographer assumes no liability for the loss or damage of album while in possession of Manufacturer. 

  1. Ordering Date

Client shall agree to final album design within 60 days of this Agreement’s date. Any delay by Client in approving final album design will result in termination of this Agreement and no further obligation by Photographer.

  1. Retouching and Edits

Photographer will use the final edited images delivered to Client to make the album design. Photographer will not re-edit or retouch any images.

  1. Returns

Client understands and agrees that once final approval of album design has been given to Photographer, no returns or refunds are allowed whatsoever. In the event Client receives the printed album and sees any manufacturer defects or dislikes the album quality, Photographer will work with Manufacturer to the best of their ability to remedy the situation. Client is responsible for any additional fees associated with returning or reprinting the album.

  1. Album Archiving

Photographer shall keep a copy of final approved album design for 90 days but does not permanently archive the final album design. Client understands that after 90 days the album design will not be available to order additional copies and a new agreement must be signed to start the process over.

  1. Photographer Copyright

The final album design by The Foxes Photography, LLC is their property, will remain their property, and are protected by United States Copyright Laws (USC Title 17). Client hereby waives any claims for ownership, income, editorial control, and use of the images and album design. Violations of this federal law will be subject to its civil and criminal penalties.

  1. Reproduction

Client and Client’s agents agree to acquire the album design and product directly from Photographer through their professional album company. Client and Client’s agents agree not to scan, copy or reproduce the album design in any manner without written permission, including using the custom album design to create other albums. Photographer may seek damages for any illegal reproduction. Client and Client’s agents further agree not to supply the album to any third-parties.

  1. Communication

Photographer’s office hours are 9:00am – 5:00pm PST Monday through Friday. Photographer’s primary source of communication is through their email [email protected]. Photographer will respond to Client’s emails within those office hours.

  1. Indemnification

Client shall indemnify, release, discharge and hold harmless Photographer, its heirs, legal representatives, assigns, employees, contractors, or any persons or corporations acting under permission or authority of the Photographer from and against any and all losses, damages, liabilities, and expenses and costs, including reasonable legal expenses and attorneys’ fees, to which Photographer may become subject as a result of any claim, demand, action or other legal proceeding by any third-party to the extent such losses arise directly or indirectly out of activities performed by Photographer pursuant to this Agreement, except to the extent such losses result from the gross negligence, willful misconduct, or intentional acts of Photographer.

  1. Maximum Damages

The sole remedy for any actions or claims by Client shall be limited to a refund, the maximum amount not to exceed the total monies paid by Client under this Agreement.

  1. Limitation of Liability

If, during the production and/or before the album(s) are delivered to Client, the media has been lost, stolen, or is unusable because of defect, damage, equipment/platform malfunction, processing, or other technical error caused by Photographer or by forces outside the control of Photographer, Client agrees to relieve and hold Photographer harmless and will not impose any additional liability.

In no event shall Photographer be liable under this Agreement to Client or any other third-party for consequential, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, punitive, or enhanced damages, arising out of, relating to, or in connection with any breach of this Agreement, regardless of (a) whether such damages were foreseeable, (b) whether or not Client was advised of such damages, and (c) the legal or equitable theory (contract, tort, or otherwise) upon which the claim is based.

  1. Force Majeure 

No Party shall be liable or responsible to the other Party, nor be deemed to have defaulted under or breached this Agreement, for any failure or delay in fulfilling or performing any term of this Agreement (except for any obligations to make payments to the other Party hereunder), when and to the extent such failure or delay is caused by or results from acts beyond the impacted party’s (“Impacted Party”) control that are unforeseen and unpredictable at the time of contracting, including, but not limited to, the following force majeure 

events (“Force Majeure Events”): (a) acts of God; (b) a natural disaster (fires, explosions, earthquakes, hurricane, flooding, storms, explosions, infestations), epidemic, or pandemic; (c) war, invasion, hostilities (whether war is declared or not), terrorist threats or acts, riot or other civil unrest; (d) government order or law; (e) actions, embargoes or blockades in effect on or after the date of this Agreement; (f) action by any governmental authority; (g) national or regional emergency; (h) strikes, labor stoppages or slowdowns or other industrial disturbances; and (i) shortage of adequate power or transportation facilities. The Impacted Party shall give Notice (as defined in Section 27) within 10 days of the Force Majeure Event to the other Party, stating the period of time the occurrence is expected to continue. The Impacted Party shall use diligent efforts to end the failure or delay and ensure the effects of such Force Majeure Event are minimized. The Impacted Party shall resume the performance of its obligations as soon as reasonably practicable after the removal of the cause. In the event that the Impacted Party’s failure or delay remains uncured for a period of 15 days following Notice given by it, the other Party may thereafter terminate this Agreement upon Notice. The Retainer and all other payments made by Client up to the date of Notice of a Force Majeure Event are non-refundable.

  1. Cancellation of Album Services by Photographer

In the event Photographer determines, in its sole discretion, that it cannot or will not perform its obligations under this Agreement due to circumstances including, but not limited to, injury, illness, death of family member, pregnancy, military orders, religious obligations, other personal emergencies, or total breakdown of communication with Client, it will:

  1. Immediately give notice to Client;
  2. Issue a refund or credit based on a reasonably accurate percentage of custom album services rendered; and
  3. Excuse Client of any further performance and/or payment obligations under this Agreement.
  1. Sales Tax

Should any sale and/or use tax be imposed on any part of this Agreement, such tax shall be collected from Client and remitted by Photographer. All sales tax will be included on invoices.

  1. Entire Agreement

This is a binding Agreement that incorporates the entire understanding of the Parties, supersedes any other written or oral agreements between the Parties, and any modifications must be in writing, signed by all Parties, and physically attached to the original agreement.

22. Venue and Jurisdiction

This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Washington including all matters of construction, validity, performance, and enforcement and without giving effect to the principles of conflict of laws. The Parties agree that any dispute or lawsuit arising out of, or concerning, this Agreement that is not first resolved by arbitration shall be resolved exclusively in a court of competent jurisdiction located in Whatcom County, Washington. The Parties assume responsibility for their own collection costs and legal fees incurred should enforcement of this Agreement become necessary.

  1. Arbitration

Any and all disputes or disagreements rising between the Parties out of this Agreement upon which an amicable understanding cannot be reached, shall be decided by arbitration in accordance with the procedural rules of the American Arbitration Association. The Parties agree to be bound by the decision of the arbitrator(s). The arbitration proceeding shall take place in Whatcom County, Washington, unless another location is mutually agreed to by the Parties. The cost and expenses of the arbitrators shall be shared equally by the Parties. Each Party shall be responsible for its own costs and expenses in presenting the dispute for arbitration.

  1. Severability & No Waiver

In the event that any part of this Agreement is found to be invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of this Agreement shall remain valid and enforceable. Any failure by one or both Parties to enforce a provision of this Agreement shall not constitute a waiver of any other portion or provision of this Agreement.

  1. Transfer

This Agreement cannot be transferred or assigned to any third-party by either the Photographer or Client without written consent of all Parties. 

  1. Headings

Headings and titles are provided in this Agreement for convenience only and will not be construed as part of this Agreement.

  1. Notice

Parties shall provide effective notice (“Notice”) to each other via email at the date and time which the Notice is sent: Photographer’s Email: [email protected]

  1. Counterparts; Facsimile Signatures 

The Parties agree that a facsimile copy (electronic copy) of this Agreement, which contains the Parties’ signatures, may be used as the original.


By checking the box on this order form and upon completion of purchase, you confirm that you have read, understood, and agree to the terms and conditions of this Agreement.