Everything you need to know about Risograph printing.

Posters, flyers, comics, booklets or artwork - it's easier than you think to create beautiful riso prints!


WHAT IS RISOGRAPH?

                                                                                                       
Risograph printing is a low-cost, eco-friendly print process with a unique aesthetic. Invented in the 80s as a cheap duplicator, riso is now really popular with graphic designers, artists and illustrators.

The process works a lot like screenprinting. Each layer is transferred onto a separate ‘master’, a paper stencil wrapped around the ink drum. The ink is then pushed through the stencil onto the paper. Once the master is made, the machine can reproduce thousands of copies very quickly and cheaply. It’s best used for runs of 50+ prints, but we can do smaller runs too.

Riso isn't like a normal full-colour printer, so it doesn't work for glossy photos - but it's perfect for flyers, posters, artwork, illustrations, comics, booklets, zines, indie mags, programmes, leaflets, beer labels ... you name it!


INKS

RISO uses soy-based inks, which are non-toxic and eco-friendly.

We have six ink colours in the Blueprint studio -
red, blue, green, yellow, black and fluorescent orange.

Colours rarely line up perfectly on top of each other, which gives the distinctive 'misregistration' look.  We don’t recommend overprinting small details or text - so bear this in mind when designing your artwork!

RISO inks are semi-transparent, so layering different colours on top of
each other results in more colour possibilities!

Riso inks have a unique, tactile texture and can smudge a bit if handled a lot. We like to think it's all part of the charm - who doesn't love inky fingers?!


PAPER

All of our paper stock is recycled and FSC approved. We use 120gsm Corona Offset as standard, and have a selection of special paper to choose from too.

Paper Stock

  • Corona Offset is made entirely from post consumer waste. It has good whiteness, high opacity and a smooth clean surface, making it ideal for all print jobs.
    Available in 80gsm, 120gsm and 190gsm.
  • Context Ivory is a smooth, clean paper stock made with a combination of post consumer waste and FSC certified fibres. Available in 100gsm.
  • Sugarpaper is a coarse, coloured paper. The texture is slightly rough, and small flecks are visible on the paper's surface. Available in 100gsm or 140gsm.

Have a different kind of paper in mind?
Get in touch and we'll see what we can do!


FILE SETUP

Preparing Files

Here are some tips to help prepare your artwork for print:

  • Send a separate greyscale pdf file for each colour layer
  • Leave a blank 10mm margin around the outside of your artwork
  • Include your name and the ink colour in the file name (eg. tom_whale_blue.pdf)
  • Include a full-colour preview of your final design

QUIRKS

It’s best not to expect perfection with risograph - there will often be little quirks of printing such as mis-registration and roller marks. This is all part of the charm of risograph and makes each print unique!

Finished prints will look quite different to what you see on your computer screen, and each print will differ slightly with variations in registration and ink coverage. Hover over or tap on an image below to find out more.


When printing large areas of solid colour, the ink density can appear inconsistent in coverage. Some variation is unavoidable and this is an inherent part of the printing process.


An internal pickup needle is used to peel off the paper from the print drum.. Heavy ink can cause the needle to drag across the paper leaving a thin line of ink on the print.


Our booklet maker can sometimes leave small greyish marks on the cover of booklets. These can be easily rubbed out with an eraser.




As each colour is printed one layer at a time, registration (ink alignment) won’t be 100% accurate When designing your artwork, try to allow for 2-3mm shifting in print. Try to avoid small details that rely on precise registration, and for neater results, try extending colour under outlines and use trapping to avoid white spaces.


When prints come out of the Riso they stack on top of each other so heavy ink can cause transfer between the prints. Riso ink can smudge easily so is best to avoid having large areas of solid colours for flyers, book covers and prints that will be handled a lot. Using spray fixatives on prints with heavy coverage helps to reduce smudging.


When producing prints with multiple colours, small track-marks can occur by the paper feed roller picking up ink from the previous print, and transferring it onto the next sheet. When producing double sided prints, pressure marks caused by ink transfer can also occur if there is ink in this area.


When printing large areas of solid colour, the ink density can appear inconsistent in coverage. Some variation is unavoidable and this is an inherent part of the printing process.


An internal pickup needle is used to peel off the paper from the print drum.. Heavy ink can cause the needle to drag across the paper leaving a thin line of ink on the print.




Our booklet maker can sometimes leave small greyish marks on the cover of booklets. These can be easily rubbed out with an eraser.


As each colour is printed one layer at a time, registration (ink alignment) won’t be 100% accurate When designing your artwork, try to allow for 2-3mm shifting in print. Try to avoid small details that rely on precise registration, and for neater results, try extending colour under outlines and use trapping to avoid white spaces.




When prints come out of the Riso they stack on top of each other so heavy ink can cause transfer between the prints. Riso ink can smudge easily so is best to avoid having large areas of solid colours for flyers, book covers and prints that will be handled a lot. Using spray fixatives on prints with heavy coverage helps to reduce smudging.


When producing prints with multiple colours, small track-marks can occur by the paper feed roller picking up ink from the previous print, and transferring it onto the next sheet. When producing double sided prints, pressure marks caused by ink transfer can also occur if there is ink in this area.


When printing large areas of solid colour, the ink density can appear inconsistent in coverage. Some variation is unavoidable and this is an inherent part of the printing process.




An internal pickup needle is used to peel off the paper from the print drum.. Heavy ink can cause the needle to drag across the paper leaving a thin line of ink on the print.




Our booklet maker can sometimes leave small greyish marks on the cover of booklets. These can be easily rubbed out with an eraser.




As each colour is printed one layer at a time, registration (ink alignment) won’t be 100% accurate When designing your artwork, try to allow for 2-3mm shifting in print. Try to avoid small details that rely on precise registration, and for neater results, try extending colour under outlines and use trapping to avoid white spaces.




When prints come out of the Riso they stack on top of each other so heavy ink can cause transfer between the prints. Riso ink can smudge easily so is best to avoid having large areas of solid colours for flyers, book covers and prints that will be handled a lot. Using spray fixatives on prints with heavy coverage helps to reduce smudging.



When producing prints with multiple colours, small track-marks can occur by the paper feed roller picking up ink from the previous print, and transferring it onto the next sheet. When producing double sided prints, pressure marks caused by ink transfer can also occur if there is ink in this area.


ENVIROMENT

RISO printing is one of the most eco friendly print processes on the planet! Riso is an efficient, low energy process with no harmful emissions and a minimal amount of waste. We print on recycled paper stock using soy based ink, and use local suppliers whenever possible to reduce our impact on the environment.