Meet the presses: Risographique, Berlin, Germany

Located in a former carpenter’s workshop in the Neukölln district of Berlin, the Risographique press was started almost by accident

Designer Nina Reisinger already owned a Risograph GR 3770 machine (c. 2002), for printing both her own work and projects for her poster and T-shirt label, Blowup Press. But when she took part in Duplicata, a local book-making event, interest in the machine’s capabilities grew among the area’s creative community.

Reisinger runs the design studio Büro NTMY with partner Soraya Lutangu, and so in order to differentiate between their own client work, and the increasing Riso printing jobs they were doing for other designers, Risographique was born.

“If people come to print at Risographique, they usually have their layouts already done,” says Reisinger. “To print those files is like translating a book into another language: from a digital file to a Risoprint. So it’s good to be able to speak both languages in order to understand the client and their work better.”

For Reisinger, the appeal of Riso is that it can lift an artwork from its dormant on-screen state into something else entirely. “I love the way it turns digital flatness into a deeper dimension,” she says. “How it becomes alive – a haptic, sensual experience. And you can’t tell 100% what will come out.” Far from being a limitation of the process, the capricious nature of the Riso press is a part of its appeal. “It’s a great challenge to work with these limitations,” she says. “Sometimes, something unexpected happens.”

For many creatives, the process is also attractive because it is affordable. “If you don’t want to print offset, because it costs too much,but want to keep the project a little smaller for an edition of books or flyers, for example, it’s a great opportunity,” says Reisinger. “Risography is much cheaper than digital printing – and of course, unique.”

Looking at the Risographique website, Reisinger’s belief in the unique personality of Riso is there for all to see. In large text, the homepage intones, “Oh Spirit Duplicator. Print thy beauty onto me!” – a Risographic call-to-arms.

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