For the first in our new series of interviews with print professionals, we spoke to Justin Bailey of printing and publishing house Hato Press to find out more about the Risograph process.

Q. What inspired the decision to set up Hato Press?

A. Hato Press was established in 2009 as a support structure, a way to offer affordable means of production to others. This idea came about when we first left college. We originally bought a Risograph machine to print and publish our own books, and soon ended up doing the same for a lot of our friends and their friends too. We realised that, as design jobs were hard to come by, running a printing press could be a way for us to survive under our own economy. It also became a way to meet a lot of new and interesting people.

Q. Risograph printing has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Why do you think this is?

A. It fills an economical void for medium sized print runs. The print quality is also very unlike anything else out there. The soya-based inks have a tactile and almost powdery quality. The colours available are quite unusual too, ranging from burgundy to fluoro orange. Although this means colours can be limited, it also offers colour options that digital print processes can’t even touch.


risograph, printing, book

Above: A spread from Hato Press’ own book AHA shows a small selection of the colours available with Risograph printing


Q. What’s your favourite thing about this way of printing?

A. I really like printing books. The process is limited to A3 size, but we see this limitation as a challenge, and try to push it as far as we can. With our expanding equipment for working to this scale, we are now offering more and more printing and finishing options.

Q. On the subject of books, you’ve a number of brilliant self-published titles under your belt. How did your interest in self-publishing begin?

A. Publishing was always the basis of Hato Press. It was only when the demand as a print service increased that we had to spend most of our time printing for others. We have recently re-organised our publishing catalogue and are working on some very exciting projects again.

Risograph printers were never designed with printing books in mind as they are essentially high-speed copiers, and therefore more suited to newsletters and flyers. This automatically sets our books apart from those produced by other standardised printing processes like litho and digital. Our publishing catalogue specialises in utility books (such as our sketchbook and studio cookbook ranges), children’s books and artist’s books.


risograph, printing, book

Above: A look inside the first of Hato Press’ Studio Cookbooks


Q. You must come across a lot of inspiring illustration and design in your line of work. What’s caught your eye lately?

A. We are all massive fans of the illustration work of Sister Arrow, as well as the graphic design output of A Practice For Everyday Life. So we were very excited when we had the chance to collaborate with them both and print the identity and menus for One Leicester Street, a new restaurant in Central London.


risograph, printing, books

Above: Pages from Studio Hato’s Risograph printed catalogue for Hayward Publishing


Q.  In addition to Hato Press, you also have your own design studio, Studio Hato. How did this come to be?

A. We have been working as freelance designers since we set up Hato Press, so forming a design studio to continue our practice seemed like a natural progression for us.

Q. From a studio perspective, who would be your dream client?

A. Haribo. We’ve always really wanted to design a sweet. Or Lego, just because that would be so much fun. Or maybe a theme park.

At ICON Printing we believe it is important to share knowledge from industry experts and our own expertise in the different printing and embroidery techniques so that you can understand more about the printing industry and the services you are getting from us.