Bridging the gap between a laser printer and a humble, conventional photocopier, Risograph printing is the go-to for those on a shoestring budget with something to say. It’s cheap. It’s easy. It’s rough and ready to boot. If you’re an Eye on Design regular you’ll know we love to champion the cohort of contemporary Risograph masterminds that have gravitated towards the ’80s machinery for its speed, versatility, and charm, especially Hato Press in London and Risotto in Glasgow. We love what they produce, we love how they support their artistic business through their presses, but something we wonder: is Riso really as easy as they all say it is?
Enter Tan & Loose: our favourite LA-based Risograph studio run by the sharp-witted illustrator Liana Jeger and gentle-humored comics artist Clay Hickson, who we interviewed just last month. Finding ourselves in near to their home town of Chicago a couple weeks ago, we invited them to our inaugural Eye on Design conference in Minneapolis to show us just how easy Riso really is. Turns out, it’s even easier than we thought.
With a stack of disintegrating Letraset, piles of orange, pink, and powder blue card, a rickety Risograph printer, and plenty of enthusiasm, a group of millennial first-timers and Letraset know-it-alls came together to celebrate the simple power of the Riso. As Tan & Loose are the brains behind The Smudge, a satirical monthly political newsletter inspired by the ’60s alternative press, Jeger and Hickson though it best that we come together as a group to make something that really matters: angry postcards.
Get ready Minnesota congress: you’re about to get quite the heap of uncompromising messages rendered in chunky Letraset delivered through your letterbox. For those not at the workshop, here’s Jeger and Hickson’s guide to printing political postcards with a risograph machine.