How a Traditional Printing Machine Created The Royal Wedding Invitations

It’s official – Royal Wedding fever has started to sweep the nation as we grow ever closer to the Royal marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the 19th of May 2018. With the standard rule for wedding invitations to be sent out between six to eight weeks before the day of the special event, the Royal Wedding invites have now been issued out to a selected 2,600 attendees. What you might not realise however, is how a traditional printing machine is responsible for creating them.

Stemmed in Royal tradition, the Royal Wedding invitations have been created by esteemed fine printers and bookbinders Barnard and Westwood. The London based company, have made sure that every detail has been appropriately included on every invitation, such as printing the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince Of Wales in crisp golden ink. As a nod to the bride and groom to be, each invitation has also been printed on English produced card, with the ink used being of American origin showing a direct reference to Markle’s American nationality and the card, a reminder of Prince Harry’s English heritage.

The Die Stamping Process

In order to print each invitation correctly and neatly, a printing process known as Die Stamping was used. Often known as ‘engraved’, ‘copperplate’ or ‘intaglio’ printing, the die stamping process stems all the way back to the late 15th century. The die stamping process initially involves the production of a hand engraved or machine etched steel die or copperplate. The die is then mounted onto a mechanical moving arm contained on a large die stamping press where it is then inked. Any excess ink is wiped off the surface of the die, which leaves only the ink within the now engraved image behind. This is then pressed under extreme pressure either onto card or paper, producing a raised, 3D looking image.

Metallic Die Stamp

The Woman Behind the Machine

Whilst it may seem easy to assume that a Die Stamping machine is the sole contributor to the production of the Royal Wedding invitations, credit should also be given to its operator. Lottie Small, a recent apprenticeship graduate at Barnard and Westwood, is responsible for mastering the die stamping process in order to create each invitation to the extremely high standards expected. Nicknaming the die stamping machine as Maude, Small made sure every piece of card used for the invitations were printed in gold and black to create a base layer, before she would use her expertise to burnish each card to further bring out the shine, along with gilding around the edge to create the elegant looking final finish.

Lottie Small

Sam Rose