Hi Jane, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
I am a freelance graphic design and Risograph printer. The best way to describe a Risograph (riso for short) is that it is a screen printer photocopier hybrid beast! It prints with spot colours through stencils, like screen printing, but it looks and sounds like an 80’s office photocopier. My printing business M/K Press was set up in 2013 by a friend and I after we graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts. We both wanted to own the means of production, as we were still producing work suited to riso printing. Having the process at hand has been extremely influential in developing my own design practice as well. It is the perfect print machine as it encourages experimentation and fast outputs. So for the first few years we were only printing work that we had designed, but as I took over the business I decided to offer riso printing as a service to others as well.
How did you first get started in the industry?
My first experience with a Risograph was at Ilam, as they have a machine in house. I was already using screen printing but as a student that process was more costly and time consuming. So I quickly fell in love with riso printing, as it is much fasters and only a small fraction of the cost, and I began using the riso to produce almost everything! While my design practice developed I was learning how to use the riso at the same time, so when I left University I found myself consistently designing for riso, but I had nowhere to get it printed. So one day I saw a second hand machine on TradeMe and I decided to buy it.
What project, personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?
I am actually most proud of setting up M/K Press. As a recent graduate who had no idea what I wanted to do, setting up a business was a pretty big deal for me.
What excites you about what you do?
I love just experimenting with colour separations, overprinting and colour mixing. Risograph has an amazing but limiting set of design parameters. It feels a little geeky but there is a bit of a science to all of it!
Where do you go to find inspiration?
I meet people all the time who have never heard of the Risograph before and it reminds me of how small of a bubble M/K operates in. The riso community is extremely niche, but the world-wide network of practitioners that has opened up mainly through Instagram, is one of the best and most supportive things about it. We are all always trading printed goods with each other, and seeing what everyone else is producing gives me a huge amount of inspiration.
What can people expect from your talk at our upcoming Design Assembly Conversations event?
People can expect to learn a bit more about Risograph printing – the origin, how it works, limitations and why it’s attractive to so many artists and designers worldwide. I will also explain a little bit about why I started providing a Risograph printing service and how it all fits into my own practice as a graphic designer.