Impressions, LLC grew out a fascination for the graphic arts that has manifested itself in multiple generations in our family. My parents were hobby letterpress printers, or as the Smithsonian Institute would call them “A-Jayers” (i.e. amateur journalists).
As the technology of printing evolved, hot-type (metal type, linotype and Ludlow) processes stubbornly, but inevitably, gave way to photographic and computer-driven processes. In the 1950s and 60s, obsolete hot-metal type and ancillary accessories were being sold largely for scrap. A few passionate (some would say obsessed) collectors acquired what they could afford (and carry) from the scrap metal dealers, estate liquidators and bankruptcy auctioneers, and took up letterpress printing as a hobby.
Few journeymen printers existed who could mentor these would-be apprentices, and as a result, most of these hobby printer/type collectors learned the black art(printing trade) on the fly from books and from information they shared with each other.
Modern technology, however, had not totally eliminated the use of metal type in the printing trades. Hot-foil printing still used metal type to create personalized accessories and gifts, and traditional letterpress processes were used to print stationery, invitations and the like. It was in such an enterprise that the first Impressions, a brick and mortar storefront in Jacksonville, Florida, was born.
Impressions too has evolved, and now fully embrace the digital technology of the 21st century. The new cyber-company, Impressions, is about creating distinctive personalized gifts on a limited scale for discriminating customers. Presently we offer custom-imprinted paper and hand-etched glass, stone and ceramic items such as bar glassware, desk and bookshelf/wall display accessories.
In addition to engraved and imprinted items, Impressions now also employs dye-sublimation technology to personalize gift and accessory items in full color. Unlike screen printing, the sublimation process uses heat, pressure and special inks to infuse an image directly into the surface of the personalized item. The sublimated image cannot be scratched or worn off. Images in vibrant color can be sublimated on plastic, metal, fabric, neoprene, glass, wood, and ceramic items.
While Impressions is always on the lookout for new products, the exceptional and traditional articles, such as the hand embroidered United States Naval Academy Crest, made from metal thread bullion wire, is truly a unique work of art. These treasured masterpieces are absolutely one of a kind, in that each bullion badge is 100% hand sewn, stitched and individually produced. No machines are used in the needlework process and the artisans that fabricate these creations retain a level of handiwork rarely seen in today’s mechanized world. Customarily used as Blue Blazer badges, the brightly decorated handiwork, can be a centerpiece in a shadow box, a commemorative service plaque or framed original keepsake. Given the significance that our USNA Alumni place on our Alma Mater and the crests and associated symbols of service, these exceptional bullion vestiges will surely remain in the service member’s family as a pass down item for future generations.