writes j.k.

Black can be blacker than black, and the whiteness of the paper can surprisingly vary so much. Sometimes cool and precisely technical. Sometimes unnoticeable. Or reflecting a soft warmth. You can feel it, without even thinking about it: someone has carefully selected the appropriate materials, before another masterfully woven them into your product. The eye is unaware that it’s observing a story told by a designer and a master printer, and doesn’t notice the orchestra that harmonically adds the final flourish. But your senses nevertheless know that the product before you was never, even for a second, left to chance.

The R-tisk printing house knows how to capture the moment. We know how to make it noticeable and pleasingly tangible.


writes nejc gazvoda

I’m not old enough to know if times have really changed, but I do know that all business and relationships are so full on the surface that they’re already in danger of cracking. The problem is that there’s nothing underneath to break our fall. No healthy madness, no concept, no innovation, no passion, and especially no dignity – all of which Boštjan Rihar holds in abundance, in words and actions that are practically brimming over with his love for his vocation.

Boštjan is a printer with a capital P,

falling in love first with printing machines in his youth (and machines in general, including a motorcycle, for instance) and then with each pixel and tint of his vocation, which, when he started, was a blend of creativity and surgical and technical precision. The printer was at one with the machine – in charge of every step of the printing process, often times also handling the design as well. If the printer was good, customers trusted him at every step. Well, if the customer was some cocky friend who liked to brag about his adventures between the sheets, it was not unheard of that his business card happened to include a Playboy bunny and the title “Professional Lover”. And if this friend also happened to be a party animal, these business cards sometimes – after a wild party, for instance – hopped on over to the wrong person, maybe his father, who at that time held a high position in a certain political organization, and the bunny consequently had his ears boxed. When Boštjan started, such jokes were very rare; there was, however, a lot of hard work, first in the cardboard factory, where he became the youngest department head. Despite his youth, he did not back down before certain employees who preferred to spend their time with a glass instead of paper. Eventually he got tired of this work and took on new challenges at Tiskarna Ljubljana, where promotions followed the good old system of “seniority over competency”. He left and, with the reputation as one of the best printers in Ljubljana, found a job at a private printing house. He rose through the ranks very quickly, but when he stood up for bookbinders who asked for a salary increase, his salary was cut. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back – he purchased his first printing machine and started his own company. It was actually missing the necessary rollers, but he soon purchased them in bar Vrhničan, where at that time you could find anything: a good glass of spritzer, a cup of delicious coffee, as well as printing rollers – who would have thought? – just the right ones. His first production hall was an old classic – mum’s garage – where he produced such masterpieces as hippiesque motley posters for surfers, which were a real hit thanks to Boštjan’s method of colour mixing. At that time, the feel for printing was very important. Only when you applied the last, black colour, did the results become visible. If you messed something up, it was already too late – and because Boštjan had such an exceptional feel for printing, he was a very popular printer.

An old locomotive is much more pleasing to the eye than a modern express train.

Soon, he bought a Heidelberg printing machine from Germany, which, judging by the way Boštjan pronounces its name, is the printing machine equivalent of a Ferrari or – if you don’t know your cars – a woman that likes to clean in the nude – so, the best of both worlds. He acquired the premises for his first printing company – the one celebrating its thirtieth anniversary – with a decree by the Municipality, which needed a printing house. In the beginning, Boštjan did a lot of things, such as printing covers for audio cassettes, where his gift of the gab helped him convince his customers to approve a different colour than requested, when his co-worker in charge of reprography was a little artistically overzealous. He also printed declarations for various products, which at that time lasted a few days, but now only takes a few hours.

Printing is a trick of the human eye.

One of his larger customers was Medex, which is also the reason he cut his long hair, when its director commented in a parking lot that he looked “like a courier and not like a printer”. After all, business is business. Even though Boštjan gave in when it came to his hair, he maintained his quality and dignity in everything else, and consequently retained his customers, who returned to him again and again, and found many new customers, resulting in the persistent growth of his printing house. For a long time he insisted on the classic printing method – due to the love of manual work and the general respect for the profession that, just a hundred years ago, entitled you to your own coachman – but a few years ago the company nevertheless started taking digital steps, while retaining the know-how of all the previous years – years when a contract for Presad juices was counted in the hundreds of thousands of prints, for instance. About one decade ago they purchased the upper floor, but Boštjan preferred to leave his “sweetheart” down below. That’s how Boštjan likes to call his Heidelberg, the very machine he purchased when he started his business and still owns today.

Well, Boštjan’s daughter Špela was not really impressed with machines when she was a young girl, but she really liked bread with mustard, which she happily ate up – if the workers had any left – when she came to the printworks with her father. And she could bring mountains of beautiful paper to her school, which established her as the embodiment of cool in her class. She soon started drawing on a computer, sweating over the selections of colours in her drawings. However, when printed at home, her drawings were just black-and-white splotches, so she naturally demanded that her dad print her artwork in colour. Her father then gently explained that black-and-white pictures are actually more interesting (neglecting to mention that printing ink is expensive), so as not to stifle her creative spirit. Now with a bachelor’s degree in design, Špela works in the printing house, where everyone has always been considered family, but is now “officially” family. This is apparent at their daily meetings, which Boštjan regularly attends, even though he’s slowly letting others that he trained throughout the years take over. Because of his diligent work ethics, his employees are very satisfied and look forward to a visit by the “boss” as if they were meeting an old friend. That’s the impression he leaves on everyone he works with – a man that transformed his know-how into a family printing house, a company that maintains its quality and does not submit to market pressures even when faced with low-volume jobs and having to scrimp and save on every step. They have tons of customers, from small to large, and they all keep coming back. For years and decades, and undoubtedly for many more. Boštjan may not have his own coachmen, but he also doesn’t need them – his love of his work encourages everyone, his words making a difficult and exhausting job seem as light, rustling, and full of opportunities as the most beautiful, thin, and gleaming sheet of white paper.

To many more printing adventures, dear Boštjan.