What is an embosser and do you need it?

While the art of letter writing might not be as thriving today as it once was, many people who prefer penning their correspondence make their work as beautiful as it is meaningful. One way to do that is with an embosser. This stamp-like contraption uses plates to press raised designs into paper. Of course, embossers can be used for more than decoration. Here's what the device is, who uses it and how it might up the ante on your letter writing:

What are embossers?
Embossers are small, handheld presses often made of metal. They have two flat plates where you insert your paper. The plates bear a debossed design that will leave a raised imprint on your stationery. Of course, you can emboss more than paper – leather, metal and textiles all are candidates. However, you can't use a paper embosser on these materials. Artists who create patterns on these mediums typically have other tool sets.

Who uses embossers?
When it comes to stationery embossing, several job positions use the devices regularly. Notaries, for instance, have to put a seal on the documents they witness to affirm they've played their role. Some notaries can use stamps, but many opt for embossed images instead. Because embossers can be personalized, a notary's device would include his or her name and qualification.

Additionally, many architects use embossers for business. These professionals have to be registered in their state to legally be able to practice their craft. Most architects' embossers include their names, along with the phrase "registered architect." They leave their imprint on drawings and legal documents.

Aside from the business world, many couples decide to include a custom embossing on their wedding invitation envelopes. This creates a personal and stylistic touch to their formal stationery.

How can you use it?
Even if you don't have to leave your professional mark on legal documents, you can still use an embosser at work and in your personal life. Whether you're sending formal invitations, professional correspondence or notes to friends, embossing your stationery is appropriate. You can emboss envelopes or the actual letter – think of it as personalized stationery.

Choosing the right embosser
Because embossers are custom devices, the sky's the limit when it comes to choosing a design. Where do you start? Narrow down your search by answering these questions:

  1. What will you use it for?
  2. What sort of aesthetic do you prefer?

Question one will determine whether you're including initials, a full name, two names, dates or an address – or any combination of these. Couples getting married may include their new initials, their names with the date of their upcoming nuptials, etc. Business professionals, on the other hand, may require their office address or their full names. Knowing what you need out of your embosser will help you decide what information to include.

Finally, do you like more modern typography? Or is calligraphy with beautiful, swirling designs more your style? Either way, you can get a customized embosser that matches your preferences.