The Riso RP 3100 AW at Chase and Galley. (Image source)
The risograph is a printer but it works more like screen-printing where you feed the paper back through the machine to print one colour at a time.
The whole process is very hands-on and the printer becomes part of the creative process. The final product replicates the charming imperfections of screen-printing because the colours are often misregistered. It also allows the overlapping colours to blend together in a manner reminiscent of old comic books.
The riso is also very economical to use. This makes it easier for independent publishers to afford a small to medium print run. Wikipedia explains the cost benefits:
For schools, clubs, colleges, political campaigns and other short run print jobs, the risograph bridges the gap between a standard photocopier (which is cheaper up to about 50 copies) and using a commercial printer (cheaper over about 10,000 copies).
In Melbourne, Dawn Press operates a riso and you can see some of their beautiful work on their facebook page.
Chase and Galley operate out of Collingwood and produce the Australian literary journal Meanjin on their risograph. They also create books, magazines and other specialist publications.
Melbourne even has it’s own Risograph Printer’s Guild. A member of the guild, Xavier Connelly, said
“I’ve tried to push boundaries on how people use it,” he says. “I was worried about [Riso printing] becoming too faddish too quickly and people getting bored. I wanted to try to get to the level where the printing wasn’t quirky … it’s just good printing.”