Founded by Britt Rohr in 2014, Swell Press™ is a boutique design and letterpress company based in Los Angeles, inspired by the salt water, sunsets, and palm trees of coastal California. From one-of-a-kind wedding and event invitation suites to sleek and sophisticated stationery and business cards, every single piece that leaves Swell Press’ studio doors is a true, intricate and original work of art.
We embrace mixing old with new to create something unique. Something daring. Something inspiring. Something timeless. We love it all. Our taste is as eclectic as the clients we work with.
Our 1,400 square foot studio is located a short walk from the beach in Redondo Beach, California. We’ve got 5 presses (2 Vandercooks, 1 Kluge, and 2 Heidelbersg), 2 paper cutters (both by Challenge Machinery Corp.), and a variety of other printing and finishing equipment.
Britt has become known for her unique aesthetic, whether through minimal, refined design or colorful experimentation. This fresh, playful, and thoughtful approach makes each Swell Press creation uniquely personal to her clients.
years in business
pieces of vintage machinery
pounds of equipment
age of our oldest press
Letterpress printing is a centuries-old artisan printing method that requires precision and dedication. Traditionally, letterpress was limited to wooden or metal type, but modern letterpress has evolved to allow the use of polymer plates allowing greater freedom in letterpress capabilities.
1. Designs are created into polymer plates. These plates are created by exposing a reverse negative of the design atop a UV sensitive polymer. The result is almost like a stamp, where each design and / or color to be printed has its own plate.
2. The letterpress plates are adhered to a base that is locked into place on the letterpress machine*. The plate is lined up perfectly, using the grid on the base and the registration guides on the machine, and then meticulously measured to make sure the design will print perfectly straight. *In our studio, we print most of our work on one of our two Vandercook presses, or our Kluge.
3. The press is inked up with letterpress ink that has been mixed by hand in-house using the Pantone formula guide. The nature of letterpress allows printing of one color at a time*, requiring a separate plate and a separate pass through the press for every color to be printed. *except ombre
4. Cotton paper that has been specially trimmed to size for the project is hand fed through the press, one sheet at a time. Careful attention is paid to various factors throughout the printing process such as alignment, impression, ink coverage, and color consistency.
5. After printing, the paper is carefully trimmed to final size.
Visit Instagram for the latest, where you'll often see behind-the-press-scenes on Stories, or our weekly Instagram Live Q&A sessions most Thursdays at 6pm PST.
If you're looking for deeper knowledge of letterpress methods, the stationery business, or creative entrepreneurship, we're excited to offer private mentorship calls or a more in-depth extended coaching program.
Or, visit our BLOG for a behind the scenes glimpse of the craft of letterpress, and Britt's 'Outside of the Squares' series, an honest journal with musings on life as a creative entrepreneur, tips, and resources.