The new Risograph printer on the second floor of the Art Building displays the lettering “No Guarantees & No Promises” to remind students of one thing — the machine is unpredictable.
Riso printers look like Xerox copiers and print a range of seven bright colors. Unlike laser printers, Risos only print up to two colors at a time without smudging. While the drying time for adding more layers of color slows the printing process, art students choose Riso to give their small-scale projects a handmade feel.
“If the colors are bright, it’s a Riso,” Kendall Bradley, studio art and design senior, said.
While any student can be a customer, the five who operate the printer and run print jobs for others are known as the Riso fellows. The fellowship program began in January and hosted a launch party for its new printer last month, which is ideal for printing colorful flyers and small publication content.
Studio art senior lecturer Jason Urban had an open call for fellows last year and accepted five, including Bradley and studio art senior Jessica Vacek.
“I think a big thing with the Riso is experimentation,” Vacek said. “You understand the machine is going to take your image and do what it wants with it.”
The machine prints eco-friendly, soy-based ink which sits more on top of the page’s surface rather than being integrated, said Bradley, a new fellow to the program. She said the machine’s unpredictability comes from the surprising way it overlays colors on the page each time a new print is made.
“I think people are really intrigued with the process and a lot more excited by the results than they assumed,” Bradley said.
Bradley said their student customers often stick around to see jobs completed, which typically cost $5 to $15 and can only be paid through Bevo Bucks.
New customers have had trouble finding the room though, because it seems hidden within the larger print lab, Vacek said.
Eventually the program will create more signs for the Riso Room and cut a door through the wall to make the room more accessible from the hallway. Customers can either wait at the window or enter the room.
“Students will still be very engaged with the fellows when they process jobs,” Urban said. “Students can ultimately be as hands-on or as hands-off as it suits them.”