One Last Piece of Political Printing

Behind the scenes of history, there's always a printer.

It's a new year, and the Presidential elections may be long decided, but there's at least one piece of political printing still in the works.

Invitations needed to be printed for Barack Obama's inauguration January 20th. And this time around, choosing the printer, the direct mailer, the paper supplier and the ink supplier for the job took on historic proportions.

Chosen for the job of printing the 1 million invitations was New York printer Precise Continental. The New York Times ran a feature piece on the selection. Precise Continental were apparently chosen over competing bidders because they are, like Hotcards, a union printer, and certified by the FSC.

Want the stats on this epic project? Check 'em out:

Colors: Black and gold.

Typefaces: Modified Shelley Allegro and Kuenstler.

Ink: Supplied by BuzzInk, in Chicago.

Paper: Classic Crest Recycled Natural White, by Neenah Paper.

The invitations have been the same since Harry S. Truman's 1949 inauguration, except for one important difference: the recycled cream-colored paper. It was very important to the Obama inauguration committee to choose a paper that represents the values of the campaign, which is why they chose this FSC-certified, carbon-neutral paper. Ironically, Neenah pointed out in a recent press release, few of these invitations are likely to be recycled due to their historical, and sentimental, value.

Once the invitation printing was finished, the million gold-sealed cards were sent to Prompt Mailers Inc. for collating, insertion into envelopes, sealing, and sending. The whole direct mailing process, scheduled to be completed by tomorrow, came at a time when the mailing company was close to shutting its doors for a short week due to the depressed economy.

The supplies needed for a party this big are likely to benefit many businesses that struggled through a slow holiday season. But for those of the printing industry, in particular, the job was a much-needed windfall.

As Precise Continental boss-guy told the NYT of the printing biz: “This is a real economy. This is not that bogus economy of Wall Street. This country used to manufacture things.” And it still does, as the feature piece in the New York Times helped to remind many people. Printing is, and remains, an essential part of American history and industry.

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