In Mexico Geert Lebens works a lot with RISO printing, he keeps up close relationships with Casa de El Hijo del Ahuizote. A place that prints a lot of political, anthropological, artistic and historic publications and communication material. Together with Diego Flores Magón; owner of the place, they share the knowledge about printing, design and pre-press processes in projects and free time.

El Hijo del Ahuizote; “the son of Ahuizote” used to be a ludic and anarchist newspaper during the reign of Porfirio Diaz ran by a.o. the brothers Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón. Today, the building is a museum honoring and storing the archive of El Hijo del Ahuizote. Every year they organize a RISO publishing book fair called Rrréplica. Diego Flores Magón organizes many events and gatherings for all those interested in culture, politics, anthropology, anarchism, writing, art and history.

Visit the Facebook page of Casa de El Hijo del Ahuizote.
Or the website of Rrréplica.
(In 2019 Rrréplica is taking place at Archivo Diseño y Architectura, from the 1st - 3rd of February.)

If your are interested in publishing in RISO or need more information about the possibilities of designing for RISO, please send an email to: info@geertlebens.nl.

the riso process
RISO is a printing technique named after the Japanese Riso Kagaku corporation that launched their first product; the RISO-Graph in 1958. This product was a duplicator or copy machine that was an evolved Mimeograph.

A Mimeograph exists of 3 elementary parts:
1. a master
2. a cilindre with ink (usually 1 color)
3. a paper feed

1. The master is a sheet of two layers of different materials, one that blocks ink from flowing through (that contains openings in the places where there is information in the form of your image) and one layer of a porous material, like a membrane to hold the first layer in place.

2. The master (1) covers the cilindre (2) that disperses the ink equally through the master onto the paper.

3. The paper feed makes it possible to insert a new sheet of paper after every full rotation of the printing cilindre (2).

In a classic Mimeograph the roll is operated manually with a lever on the side of the machine. An inside mechanism makes sure it inserts the paper automatically from a stack that manually has to be maintained.

modern riso printing
Modern RISO-graphs are machines that automatically make masters when scanning images directly or when transferring files digitally from a computer. The machines use laser technology to burn the image into the synthetic master material. The masters are blanc sheets that have to be bought and fed in serie into the machine, just like the stacks of paper and the ink cilindres that have to be fed into the axis of the rotation mechanism.

Most machines have one or two cilindres that can each simultaneously print one layer of color. Some machines can even print three or four colors at a time. Every cilindre can print only one color of the desired image, only a machine with four cilindres can equal the effect of a full-color image in one run.

to riso or not to riso?
RISO technology is ideal for small or medium editions and is most economic when using less than four colors per sheet of paper. Because every color of every side of paper requires a new master. Merely the use of masters combined with the ink consumption defines wether RISO-graph printing can be respectable for your budget or soak it up compared to other printing techniques and considering the qualities you are striving for. RISO printing offers a very characteristic signature to your work, which created a lot of fans all over the world and has to be well deliberated if it fits the purpose of your work.