Common Questions


What is engraving?

Engraving is one of the oldest graphic techniques in the world. It is an example of intaglio printing in which letters or designs are carved into a piece of copper or steel so that each form is a concave shape that recesses into the metal.  When an engraving press is set up, rollers distribute the ink smoothly onto the plate, going into the carved areas, and then the excess is wiped away.  When paper is fed through, the press applies approximately 3,000 pounds of pressure, pushing the paper into the carved areas so that the ink adheres.  The end result is a raised design on the paper’s surface with a slight bruise on the back.

Because of the type of ink and the intricate carving involved, engraving is known for its level of detail and sharpness that can be achieved at a very small scale.  Engraving ink is also completely opaque, making it possible to print light-colored inks on darker papers.

The quality and clarity of engraving makes it the ideal choice for writing papers and invitations.  The process gives the type an unmistakable tactile presence on both the front and back of every impressed piece.

Complete Graphics,  Stationers Engraving and Gravure Engraving are three of only a handful of stationers still using these distinctive hand-engraving techniques to create beautiful luxury paper products with their own unique stamp of history and tradition.
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What are the other types of printing?


The raised effect in Thermography printing is created using a powder that sticks to a special ink.  The ink is then heated, melting the powder so that texture forms along the type’s surface 


Flat printing is the most basic form of offset printing.  A plate transfers the ink to a rubber blanket, which is then pressed onto the paper.  The ink rests on top of the paper’s surface and is entirely smooth.  Unlike digital printers, which create colors and forms using tiny dots laid down row by row, flat-printing produces a completely solid form in colors which are mixed prior to their adhesion to the paper.

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What is blind embossing?

Blind embossing is engraving done without applying ink to the press.  The result is a raised mark showing the texture and depth of the impression without any color.  It is a subtle form of personalization and is a sophisticated alternative to traditional contrast engraving.  It looks equally elegant with a monogram or a name.

How long will it take to engrave my stationery?

The engraving process is time intensive and can take between 7 to 14 days from the date of your proof approval.  We do offer rush services for an additional cost.  Please call us at 612-522-9390 for details.

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Do you have my engraving plates?

If you have ordered with us in the past we most likely have them.  Please email us as much information as possible about your plates and we will let you know whether we have them in our files. 

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Is it possible to make a change to existing engraving plates? 

Engraving plates are carefully cut from copper or steel dies, which are then used to stamp the paper. Once a plate is engraved, it cannot be changed to reflect a change of address or new phone number.  A new plate must be created to reflect any changes you may have.

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