Monday, 25 November 2013


Today, I visited Footprint in Leeds, a printing co-op, where they only print in eco-friendly methods, and choose to buy in recycled stock from 80gm-300gm.

I went with, Bethany Dalzell, Joe Harrison, Leo Sims, Jamie Pudsey and Jordan Harrison Reader. I found the trip insightful and inspiring. I learnt about a print method which is essentially digital screen printing. We were given a tour of the printers, shown how the riso printers and binding machines work, as well as being able to ask questions about the process, and leave with free samples for our research.

The designer and printer who spoke to use today at Footprint, is a fellow LCA Graduate, who also studied BA(Hons) Graphic Design.

"We get quite excited about colour riso printing. It would be really nice to print more using this process, which is why we’re writing this page to tell you how you can add a splash of colour to your work without the expense of full colour laser printing.

How the process works

The riso printer works similarly to a screen printing. Ink is pushed through holes in a thin master sheet that wraps around a colour drum. You have to use a different colour drum for each of the colours you use.

We have five colour drums: black, red, green blue and new flourescent pink. We can’t print any other colours with the riso. And we can only print your work in the specific shades of ink that we use - see the image to the right of the page.

We can only print one colour at a time. If you are using more than one colour, the paper will go through the machine once for each colour. There can be some issues with getting the two colours to line up correctly, as each image can shift on the page by a couple of millimetres.

Some designs are more difficult than others in this respect. For example trying to put a black outline around a colour graphic is next to impossible since both images will shift around the page slightly. Putting a words of one colour in the middle of a sentence in another colour rarely works well as even a 1mm shift breaks the flow for the reader."


The inside of the riso printer, showing the drum.

Paper reem feed, A3 printing size restriction.

Printed and Bound zines. 1 colour riso printing. Ink needs to be left to dry and they are soya based and take longer to dry into the stock. This is to avoid smudging when overprinting in layers of colours by changing the colour drum.

Tray supporting printed documents. At maximum speed 200 per minute can be printed.

Paper correlator and binder. Pages are inserted as shown above 1-10 for example, and each booklet is folded and bounded using this machine.

Pages shown in order to be bound.

2 colour printing examples. black and hot pink. Alignment can be difficult with text due to the same stock being re printed on, so room is preferably needed for this.

For each colour used, the drum and film need to be changed.

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