What is RISO printing?
Traditionally, Risographs have been used for high volume duplicating/photocopying in schools, churches and small political parties. It uses soy based inks to produce unique quality outcomes, each screen is made from banana paper and unlike other printing processes, it only takes a handful of prints for the screen to be fully inked and ready for production.
While it looks like a copier, it functions very differently… The underlying technology of a Risograph is pretty much similar to a mimeograph. It works by creating a thermographic master screen for each color of your artwork. This screen is then wrapped around a rotating drum, and liquid soy ink is pushed through tiny holes in the screen and onto the paper, which is fed flat through the machine while the drum rotates at high speed to print each image on the paper. It really is a little bit like screen printing on steroids – at up to 150 pages per minute…
Risograph printing Newburgh, Hudson Valley, New York, NY
Our (high end) Risograph sports two ink drums and we can print two colors in one pass. More colors can be achieved by running the paper through the machine again, creating layers in a process akin to screen printing.
Why use RISO?
This method of printing is a very artistic option when compared to other reproduction processes like screen printing or offset printing. You can achieve vastly different results and beautiful color overlays, as you could pass paper through the machine as many times as you like to create different color layers.
However, we need to charge a set-up fee for file review, ganging and the resulting master…
Riso print & paper size
Maximum Size: Ledger
Printable Paper Sizes: 3.5” x 5.5” to 11” x 17”
Printable area approx. 10.75” x 16.75”
Paper Weight: 16# bond to 80# cover
Risograph printers are popular for its vibrant, environmentally friendly and effective nature, especially on medium to large runs. It can produce anything from flyers, postcards and books to artist prints with a very unique aesthetic.
Riso printer, Risograph, RISO Printer-Duplicator or also called simply only Riso is a stencil printer designed mainly for high-volume photocopying, duplicating and printing. It sits in the realm somewhere between screen print and digital printing with very different results. Risograph prints always differ a little bit from one to another, and its imperfections give the prints its unique charm and character.
You can achieve very interesting effects with overlays, as the inks are not 100% opaque.
Riso soy ink does not work on glossy papers – The Risograph can print only onto a limited range of papers, which must be uncoated… rough, toothy papers work best – up to 80#/90# cover.
The Risograph prints using specific spot colors, some are not available on regular digital toner, or inkjet based systems. These spot colors include matte gold, fluorescent pink and orange. The inks vibrancy will vary according to paper stock, i.e. the fluorescent pink will be much more vibrant on a white, or colored stock than on a brown-ish Kraft paper. The results are stunning none the less…
Riso doesn’t manufacture cyan or magenta ink, which makes it impossible to print a traditional CMYK image – interesting results can be achieved by substituting C(yan) with blue and M(agenta) with red, or fluorescent pink.
Riso ink is not 100% opaque so they are easily blended to make new shades. Playing around with screen tints can be very rewarding, especially when you are planning to create a third color that can be mixed out of combining the two available colors by applying a halftone screen.
We have the following color drums available
Available Risograph ink colors · Raghaus Newburgh, New York
Black – Pantone Neutral Black U
Federal Blue – Pantone 286 U
Red – Pantone Warm Red U
Fluorescent Pink – Pantone 806 U
Burgundy – Pantone 7419 U
Kelly Green – Pantone 368 U
Yellow – Pantone Yellow U
Metallic Gold – Pantone 872
Medium Blue – Pantone 2935 U
We are sourcing the drums one by one, and these are technically possible…
Light blue – Pantone 3005 U
Purple – Pantone 275 U
Teal – Pantone 328 U
Green – Pantone 354 U
Yellow – Pantone Yellow U
Gold – Pantone 117 U
Orange – Pantone 1505 U
Fluorescent Orange – Pantone 905 U
Hunter Green – Pantone 561 U
Brown – Pantone 7581 U
The Risograph processes greyscale images and applies a halftone screen – please specify the LPI desired (43 lpi, 71 lpi, 106 lpi) for your job
Export line art, customized halftone screens and dither patterns as a 600 DPI Bitmap file.
Years ago, I disregarded the Risograph for its lack of perfection. Today, I embrace it for the same reason…
Markus Hartel, owner, graphic designer & print maker
The Risograph is not perfect like an inkjet or laser printer, and the prints will likely look different from what you see on your computer screen. Print marks will appear on multiple color runs or double sided prints, but that’s the beauty of the whole Riso process. I call it the Wabi-Sabi of printing.
Even though we have a 2-drum machine, Risographs are not designed for perfect registration color printing, there’ll most likely be some sort of mis-registration when printing several color layers at a time. Please keep this in mind when designing your imagery. Allow for plenty of bleed and try to trap your artwork to counter this. We can do either for an additional fee.
The Machine uses a soft rubber gear/roller to feed the paper into the press, and the ink is very liquid. If there is ink coverage on the pick-p area, the Riso will leave rubber gear marks on the sheet… Letting the prints dry for 24 hours or so between runs helps quite a bit, so, please consider your options on a rush job…
Large, flat areas of color may not come out in an even tone. Avoid heavy ink coverage on the bottom center of your artwork to minimize roller marks, however, they will occur.
View more Riso printing samples in our blog or request a quote
Custom Risograph jobs will take 7 to 10 working days, depending on complexity and paper stock. Rush orders are possible at additional cost. 50% deposit required, remainder upon delivery.