I’ve been in touch with a riso print shop in Toronto, and I’ve secured some paper samples as well as a color chart. MUCH to my chagrin, the nature of riso ink is that it has a tendency to smudge a bit, which is really bad if you’re making something that’s meant to be handled. The biggest concern, though, isn’t actually being touched, it’s the contact the cards would make with each other while being stored and shuffled – the backs and fronts would rub against each other.
I’ve considered other printing alternatives. The digital CMYK process is unacceptable to me, and a project like this would be VERY expensive to screenprint if I wasn’t doing it myself. So that leaves me back where I started: risography.
I figured that these smudging issues could potentially be solved, though, especially if I could figure out a way to print the backs with a different process that uses more durable inks. And if I printed it dark enough, what little smudging there might be wouldn’t be noticeable. There’s also the question of whether or not I could spray-fix the front sides of every card. I mean, of course I could – but I would have to test to see 1. how well the soy ink held up under a coat of fix, and 2. how much work it would take to do this myself!
For the sake of integrity, however, I’m very willing to do this if it means I can have my cake and eat it too – that is, if I can riso print a deck of cards and have them be usable. I would even be willing to block print the backs myself as well, if that meant I could guarantee a smudge-free card back.
I’m officially just 6 cards away from finishing the art for this project, so this is stuff I’ll have to start thinking about as I ready the files for print… and crowdfunding!