An independent publishing house that champions Risograph printing, a technique that’s brilliantly creative and kind to your bank balance and the environment.
But is print dead?
Digital people say yes, but there is a sect of print fanatics who say it hasn’t and it never will.
Sure, the internet does fast, cheap distribution better than any printer could. But, where it can’t compare is in the quality, sophistication and tangible satisfaction of owning a good book. Enter a charge of independents, popping up in cities everywhere creating long-lasting, well-thought-about publications that will continue to trump their pixelated competition.
Hato Press is one such independent.
Born in ’09
Hato Press was established by two friends in 2009. They’d just graduated from Central St Martins in London and were looking for an affordable way to carry on producing their own books.
It was then that they discovered risograph printing, a technique so quick and affordable that they could continue to experiment with ideas, but that had a colourful and tactile beauty so special to print publishing.
So they bought a machine and named themselves ‘Hato’ – the Japanese word for pigeon. This name choice both honours Japan, the country where the print technique was born, and positions Hato as the rough-cut, scruffy cousin to other bird-based publishers: Penguin, Golden Cockerel and Pelican.
A place to experiment
The printer created an experimental place for them to invite friends and others to develop, produce and distribute their creative ideas. They soon realised it could become a way to survive when design jobs were increasingly hard to come by. They put any profits into purchasing new equipment for the studio and to making new independent books and soon started to grow.
Over the past six years they’ve produced books, zines and unique projects with and for clients such as the Royal College of Art, The School of Life, Serpentine Gallery, Urban Outfitters, The British Council and the Victoria & Albert Museum. They continue to publish their own Hato projects. These include collaborations with illustrators like Jean Julien and a set of cookbooks that champion their communal studio lunches.
A sense of responsibility
As a printer, they’ve always been conscious of their industry’s impact on the environment. This informed their choice of printing technique, risograph uses soy-based inks, is energy efficient, generates a minimal amount of waste and they’re choice of stock, always using papers that are recycled or FSC certified. It has also informed the creation of their stationery range, where they use any test prints, offprints and mistakes to make notepads that reduce waste and give a colourful snapshot into their studio.
Today, Hato is three parts strong: Hato Press, a print and publishing house; Studio Hato, a design studio specialising in publications, exhibitions, education and workshops and its newest member Hato Labo, an interactive design studio.