RISO PRINT GUIDE
WHAT IS RISOGRAPH PRINTING?
Risograph is an eco-friendly print process that blends elements of screen printing and photocopying. The Risograph is a duplicator, that uses spot colours and stencils to create vibrant and textured prints. It is a low cost, high speed print process with vibrant results!
Risograph printing began in Japan in the 1980’s as a standard office print and photocopier by the Riso Kagaku Corporation. In recent years has become increasingly popular with artists, illustrators and graphic designers thanks to its quirky style, low cost, and eco-friendly approach.
THE PRINT PROCESS
The ‘riso’ machine, looks like a photocopier with ink drums inside that can be changed depending on the colours you want to use. We have a dual drum machine so we can print two colours at once. To print your work we need to receive a greyscale print file for each colour you wish to use. The riso printer reads your file in black + white and then the colour is added. For example, if you wanted to create a two colour print, you would create two separate greyscale layers for each colour.
When we send your design to the riso machine via computer or scanner, it creates a ‘master’ stencil by burning the design onto thermal paper and wrapping it around an ink drum. As the drum rotates, paper is pulled through the machine from left to right and the ink is pushed through the stencil onto the paper. We we repeat this process to print multi-layered colourful prints.
Riso Inks are translucent and can be overlaid at different transparencies to achieve amazing results and colour combinations.
We currently have 10 colours to choose from: Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, Brown, Black, Purple, Teal, Fluorescent Orange, and Fluorescent Pink. We recommend printing with 1- 4 colours. Multiple colours are achieved by changing the drums in the machine. Every time a new colour is needed, the riso creates a new stencil. The more colours used, the higher the print cost.
We use recycled or FSC Certified paper, specifically uncoated to absorb the riso ink. We stock a range of white, off-white, and coloured papers from 80gsm to 300gsm. Please get in touch to check our current stock. Our house stock is Steinbeis 80gsm, Context Natural 100gsm, 190gsm, 250gsm, 300gsm. Feel free to get in touch if you wish to use your own paper – we cannot guarantee it will be suitable but will happily test for you!
SIZE + FILE SET UP
The maximum size paper we can print on is A3 (420mm x 297mm). The max printable area is 410 x 287mm. The Riso cannot print to the edge of the page so please leave at least a 5-10mm border on all A3 print files.
– Greyscale flattened PDFs for each colour – labelled clearly e.g. side1_inkcolour.pdf.
– Adobe Photoshop + Illustrator files. They must include your individual greyscale layers labelled as the colours you wish to print e.g. side1_inkcolour.
You can upload your PDFs or send your adobe files to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can trim A3 to standard sizes such as A4, A5, A6 or any custom size. We offer a range of print options of standard, trimmed and full bleed sizes. Full bleed is printing to the edge of the paper so the final result has no border.
Due to the nature of riso printing, it’s helpful to remember that standard prints will have a border and trimmed or full bleed prints won’t have a border.
PLEASE MAKE SURE
– Files are exactly A3 or the size you wish to print.
– Files are set to 300dpi.
– Files are set to greyscale (black & white).
– All fonts are outlined and layers are flattened.
– To include a full colour mock-up for reference.
– 3mm bleed is added for trimmed + full bleed prints.
– Crop marks are added if custom trimming is needed.
The Risograph process has a beautiful handmade aesthetic. Here are some quirks to look out for:
COVERAGE: Large areas of solid ink coverage are likely to flood and show variations in texture.
SMUDGING: Risograph ink is a blend of water, pigment and soil oil. Similar to newspaper ink, it can smudge.
ROLLER MARKS: When a paper is fed through the machine multi ple times, the paper feeder rollers may leave tire marks on the page. Don’t worry, they can be easily removed with a rubber.
REGISTRATION: As each colour is layered separately, the overlap of colours and alignment can be irregular. Every print will look slightly di erent. Unexpected marks are part of the process and is what really make each print totally unique! Adding trapping to your design will help avoid mis-registration gaps.
– To avoid pixelation, type must be set on InDesign or Illustrator (vector) and not on Photoshop (raster/pixel).
– Avoid heavy ink coverage on the top centre section of the paper when printing multiple layers. Paper feed rollers may pick up ink and leave roller marks on all prints.
ECO FRIENDLY PRINTING
Risograph printing is one of the most eco-friendly ways to print. We use soy-based, non- toxic inks and stencils made from banana leaf fibres. The Riso machine is energy efficient, free from harmful emissions and has minimal waste. We print on recycled or FSC Certified paper and recycle spare prints and paper as much as we can. Our packaging is plastic-free and we use biodegradable bubblewrap to protect your beautiful prints!
If you are completely new to riso we are here to help guide you through the process! We can also offer file set-up and design services. Please get in touch with questions or print ideas – email@example.com.
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