Stationery has historically meant a wide gamut of materials: paper and office supplies, writing implements, greeting cards, etc. Modern use of the term "stationery" more specifically relates to materials used for formal or personal correspondence.
Letterpress is a printing method that results in letters that are recessed upon the printed page. The print may be inked or blind but is typically done in a single color. Motifs or designs may be added as many letterpress machines use movable plates that must be hand-set.
Embossing is a
printing technique used to create raised surfaces in the converted paper stock.
The process relies upon mated dies that press the paper into a shape that can be
observed on both the front and back surfaces. Conversely, "debossing" and
"impressing" are colloquial terms to describe recessed surfaces made through the
Example of a brass engraving plate, showing heavy wear. The plate is hand or machine engraved, inked, and forced into paper at extremely high pressures.
Engraving is a process that requires a design to be cut into a plate made of a relatively hard material. It is a technology with a long history and requires significant skill and experience. The finished plate is usually covered in ink, and then the ink is removed from all of the un-etched portions of the plate. The plate is then pressed into paper under substantial pressure. The result is a design that is slightly raised on the surface of the paper and covered in ink. Due to the cost of the process and expertise required, many consumers opt for thermo graphic printing, a process that results in a similarly raised print surface, but through different means at less cost.
Thermo graphic printing is a process that involves several stages but can be implemented in a low-cost manufacturing process. The process involves printing the desired designs or text with an ink that remains wet, rather than drying on contact with the paper. The paper is then dusted with a powdered polymer that adheres to the ink. The paper is vacuumed or agitated, mechanically or by hand, to remove excess powder, and then heated to near combustion. The wet ink and polymer bond and dry, resulting in a raised print surface similar to the result of an engraving process.