Split fountain printing

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split fountain printing

Of all the kinds of printing available, split fountain is without a doubt my favourite.

If you’re not familiar with the process… Typically when printing, a single colour only is used in each ink fountain (pictures to follow), and while gradients can be printed using modern process colour printing – the standard mix of cyan, magenta, yellow and black found in your average home/office printer – printing methods like letterpress are typically limited to solid colours as a wooden or metal block stamps a colour into the paper stock, a method which doesn’t allow blending of multiple densities and layers of ink.

By blending inks directly in the fountain, split fountain printing allows for some wonderful effects in letterpress and screen printing which otherwise wouldn’t be achievable, combining blends of colour with the more exotic stocks and debossing effects that aren’t available with standard offset printing.

The best of both worlds. As promised, some pictures of the process…

split fountain ink
Two inks being added to the ink fountain. Split fountain printing isn’t limited to two colours either, it can be three, four, or however many you can fit in the fountain.

split fountain rollers
Ink rollers combining the two colours from the fountain.

split fountain invite
The end results. (Plus a second press with black.)

On to some great examples of split fountain:

split fountain type
split fountain business cards
split fountain cards
split fountain stationery
split fountain printing
split fountain stock
split fountain edge painting
split fountain card
split fountain illustration printing
split fountain invitation
split fountain invites
split fountain printing
split fountain stock
split fountain
split fountain plates
Rollers and printing plates for two colour split.

split fountain poster
split fountain printing
split fountain posters
split fountain posters
split fountain printing
split fountain printing plate

split fountain screen printing
Ink preparation on the screen for, you guessed it, screen printing.

split fountain screen printing paddle
Running the squeegee across the screen, blending the ink.

split fountain printing
The finished result of screen printing.

split fountain typography
split fountain type
split fountain wedding
split fountain wedding invite
split fountain invite
split fountain poster
A four colour split – green, blue, red and orange inks used.

split fountain printing rollers
split fountain printing
split fountain gradient rollers
split fountain gradient
split fountain invite
split fountain graphics

Split fountain printing can be a little on the expensive side as far as printing costs go, but you can’t argue with the results. It makes for some great looking prints.


7 thoughtful comments on “Split fountain printing”

  1. Bryan McAllister says:

    Beautiful and inspiring.

  2. Bec says:

    I’ve only recently discovered this kind of printing, but I LOVE split fountain! Some great examples of it shown here.

    I especially love the combination when it’s printed with letterpress for the imprint and textures you can get with letterpress stocks.

    Love ‘em!

  3. April Greer says:

    Sometimes I really miss working with presses and watching good pressmen make printing look like an art form.

  4. Mark Grabow says:

    Wow… it’s been ages since I worked a split fountain effect into a design project.

  5. Amy Becham says:

    Wow, you learn something new everyday. Some beautiful work presented here and what GREAT ideas if you have access to the equipment! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Corey Gagner says:

    Agreed! These are amazing prints! I wish I took advantage of this technique when I was in my printmaking class.

  7. Mary Brayton says:

    Beautiful work Andrew!


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