Two books in particular that stand out at Look Back and Laugh are Tivoli by Finnish video-artist Irene Suosalo and In Memory of the Present by Cameroonian graphic designer Sophia Douala, both of which blend the surreal and amorphous nature of pattern with the emotive possibilities of colour. “They’re the latest two books we published,” Zoran says. “Sophie’s book opened quite a few new things for us, since her material is based around stories and written text and usually we publish books that are more image oriented.” What came out of such a risk from Look Back and Laugh is an excellent book that is filled to the brim with colour and ink – a large feat considering it was Sophia’s first try at Riso. “Her book is one of the most complicated books we have ever printed, but we are really happy with the outcome and it was a great process that put us to another level,” Zoran explains. But, the pay-off of risk-taking hasn’t stopped there for Zoran and co. “Irene’s book is also special since we worked closely together with layout and curating the images that ended up in the book,” he adds. “She is primarily an animator so it was interesting to translate the moving images into stills.”
But where does Look Back and Laugh’s distinctive name and off-kilter visual identity exactly come from? It seems to be an amalgamation of sorts, combining retro cultural influences with a genuine admiration for Riso and typography. “Our name actually comes from a Minor Threat song,” Zoran tells us. “Both me and Jure grew up going to hardcore punk shows and the DIY mentality is something that shaped our perception of art and design very much.” As for their logo typeface, it comes from Monument Grotesk from Dinamo with a combination of using old sketches of all caps characters from Zoran’s old hard drive.
Interestingly, the publishing house maintains a strong relationship with Riso Paradise, a collective of six artists that share a Risograph workshop. “Me and Jure are both part of it and all the books are printed at the Riso Paradiso studio where we also have our design studio,” Zoran explains. It’s in-part why 98 per cent of their releases are printed on Riso. But, the team aren’t stopping at Riso with their innovative output. “Since the last couple of years we are also experimenting with apparel as a medium for graphic design and art and it’s been very fun,” Zoran says. “Doing clothes is similar to doing books in a way, but there is so much more to learn. We would love to expand that and try to do more complicated apparel and collaborate with like-minded people on it.” Ultimately, Look Back and Laugh have their sights set on a new list of artists they’re planning to work with, as well as continuing to advocate for Slovenia and Ljubljana as a cultural and creative hub. “We have a great music and art scene, there is an unreal amount of small galleries and other institutions in the city, and I would absolutely recommend everyone to check it out if they are in the region.”