Home / Services / Risograph

What is riso?

Risograph (ri-so-graf), or Riso, is a printing technology with a 40+ year history originating in Japan. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in its use by artists and designers due to its vibrant colors, cost effectiveness, and efficiency. Like screenprinting, each color layer is printed sequentially. A color drum is loaded for each color, and the paper is reloaded for each subsequent layer.

The process

Riso is a spot color printing method.

1. Original art is scanned, or digital files are sent to the printer.

2. A master film is created, with tiny holes corresponding to the image or text to be printed.

3. The machine wraps the film around a drum and ink is forced through the stencil onto paper as it passes through the machine.

Similar to screen printing, each color requires a separate pass.

Ink colors


The risograph's soy-based inks used are translucent, allowing them to overlay and create new colors when printed in layers. This technique results in a tactile appearance, often embraced for its imperfections.

Large blocks of color do not print out evenly. Consider decreasing opacity in these areas up to 20% or adding a texture into your design.

We stock 6 colors: Scarlet, Blue, Yellow, Kelly Green, Flo Pink, and Black. See the "Ink Colors" section for equivalent hex codes and Pantone colors.

The print area goes up to 8 x 14". The machine itself can feed papers up to 11 x 17".

The risograph cannot print full bleed, you must account for a 1/4 inch border or consider trimming the final print.

  • Size: The machine can take papers up to 11 x 17".
  • Thickness: Paper should be between 20lb bond (75 gsm) to 80lb cover (225 gsm).
  • Coating: papers should be uncoated for ink to absorb properly.
  • Sourcing: you may provide your own paper or choose from our in-house stocks. Contact us for more information.

Imperfections are common in this printing technique. Ink smudging, paper feeder roller marks, and wiggly registration are frequent with the Riso. Achieving perfection is challenging even for seasoned printers, but we strive for the best results.

To minimize imperfections, consider incorporating extra trapping in your design and reducing fill opacity to 80-90%. Embrace these unique quirks as characteristic as elements of the printing process.

The affordability of risograph printing makes it popular among independent artists, small publishers, and zine makers. Its charm lies in the handmade feel and the ability to produce visually appealing prints with a distinct, slightly imperfect quality.

Contact us to talk about your project. Every job is custom quoted depending on the following variables: quantity, number of colors, paper size, paper sourcing, and finishing.