Founded by Britt Rohr in 2014, Swell Press™ is a boutique design and letterpress company based in Los Angeles, California, inspired by the salt water, sunsets, and palm trees of Manhattan Beach. 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 flip over clients who admire and appreciate the craftsmanship to create unforgettable communication that’s authentic, personal, and stylish.
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 specific 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. We took a shot at simplifying the letterpress process below:
Designs are created into polymer plates. These plates are created by exposing a reverse negative of the design atop the UV sensitive polymer. The portion (the design) that is explosed to light hardens, and the rest washes away. The result is almost like a stamp, where each design and / or color to be printed has its own plate.
The plates are backed onto an adhesive, and 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, to make sure it will print perfectly straight.
The press is inked up with specialty letterpress ink that has been mixed by hand. The nature of letterpress allows printing of one color at a time, thus requiring a separate plate and a separate pass through the press for every color to be printed. We custom mix our inks in house using the Pantone formula guide.
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.
The paper is trimmed to finished size, and voila! Beautiful, tactile, letterpress goodness.
In the meantime, visit Instagram for the latest, where you'll often see printing behind-the-press-scenes on Stories, or Instagram Live sessions. 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.