Five years on our Risograph machine is still such an integral part of the business and my love of the print design/ process continues to delight and challenge us in the studio. So for those curious I thought I'd do a little dive into how it all works.
The printer itself is no beauty but the magic that comes out is what its all about! The Japanese machine was originally designed back in the 1980's as a low running cost ,ecological printer with high speed, high volume print capability. In recent years the machine has been widely adopted amongst the graphic design and illustrator community who like us, love the limitations and imperfections of the results created. Without getting too technical the function of the printer is a cross between screen printing and photocopying. The emulsion ink is made up of sustainable raw ingredients of soy or rice bran. Before we get printing there is a lengthy process of artwork prep as each colour you print is printed separately. Our machine is a dual printer meaning two colours can be printed at once. Once the machine receives the artwork (either manually on the top scan bed or electronically) it prepares a 'MASTER' which is like a stencil that wraps around the corresponding ink drum. When the printer gets going the ink is pushed through the master at high speed and on to the paper! The real fun begins when you then print over the first print and depending on your artwork colours merge and form new combinations as seen in our print colour charts above.
If you want to find our more about the process or see what other creatives get up to I suggest popping over to Pinterest or for further reading I can recommend Risomania: The New Spirit of Printing by Luca Bendandi and Luca Bogoni
The beauty of printing in house is that we have full control so can avoid over stock or even worse dead stock! Once printed our cards are dropped at a local print finishers for cutting and creasing. With such an eco friendly process we do get asked why are cards are still packed in clear cello bags when purchased in shops. It's a tricky one; due to the type of eco ink used it can have a light smudging effect when over handled and our concern was the cards would get damaged so we use a compostable biodegradable bag to keep them protected.
The thank you notecards on the left are a two colour print process while the selection of cards on the right are four colour with lots of lovely overlays creating new colours.
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