Photo by Darren Hester

A crisp twenty-dollar bill fresh from the ATM is a perfect example of a type of engraving. Go ahead, pull one out of your billfold and take a look!

Feel the delicate raised ink lines. Admire the vivid opaque colors and the intricate details. Notice the lack of big solid areas of ink. Turn the bill over and see if you can spot any slight indentations—the reverse of the front image. Pretty cool, huh?  Photo: Darren Hester.

Crane & Company, the American paper maker and stationery printer (founded in 1801!), has produced this video that describes the many steps in the engraving process as it is done today:

What an amazing process, with gorgeous results.

In my next post, I’ll go into detail on design considerations for engraving.