What is risograph?
The risograph is a high-speed printer, which merges the process of screen printing and photocopying; printing one colour at a time and building up layers of colour to create your image. It serves as a cost-effective way of printing large volumes, and has a number of qualities that make it stand out compared to conventional methods.
At Damn Fine Print, we can take your files and turn them into your own prints, flyers, posters, zines, and more.
Risograph Print Bundles
Our risograph bundles offer quick and easy pricing for your project.
Business Card Bundle
Need something else? Get a quote!
The Risograph Process
Risograph images are printed one colour at a time. Files are sent to print from a PDF on a computer. The risograph takes your image and makes a stencil of it, which then wraps around an ink drum, which is inside the machine.
To print, paper is fed straight through the machine from one side to the other. Once the paper is fed in, the ink drum rotates, transferring your image onto the paper, and pushing it out the other side.
The colour of your image is determined by which ink drum is in the machine when you make your stencil.
to print with
this process is repeated, having swapped out the ink drum for another colour, and printing over the first layer in a new colour.
Every time you add a colour to your design, the page must pass through the RISO again. RISO inks are soy-based, and are wet when printed. This means that printing with multiple layers involves handling wet ink, so smudges and other imperfections can show up in your work from time to time.
Available Ink colours
Risograph printing uses soy-based inks of different custom colours, printing one colour at a time using a series of ink-filled drums which are swapped in and out of the machine as required. We currently have:
Pantone Black U
RGB0, 0, 0
CMYK 0, 0, 0, 100
Pantone 805 U
RGB 255, 116, 119
CMYK 0, 55, 53, 0
Pantone 872 U
RGB 172, 147, 110
CMYK 22, 33, 68, 8
Pantone 806 U
RGB 255, 72, 176
CMYK 0, 72, 31, 0
Pantone 637 U
RGB 94, 200, 229
CMYK 49, 0, 11, 0
Pantone Reflex Blue U
RGB 50, 85, 164
CMYK 87, 59, 0, 0
Pantone 185 U
RGB 241, 80, 96
CMYK 0, 67, 60, 5
Pantone 354 U
RGB 0, 169, 92
CMYK 73, 0, 81, 0
Pantone Yellow U
RGB 255, 232, 0
CMYK 0, 9, 100, 0
As colours are printed one at a time, it is very likely that layers will not line up perfectly. This is something that needs to be remembered when creating your artwork. To avoid issues, do not set the same text in two colours, fill in coloured backgrounds behind line work or text, add trapping where necessary, and avoid intricate details that require layers to line up perfectly.
smudges, marks and heavy ink coverage
Risograph inks are wet when they are printed, which means that printing involves a risk of smudging when handling prints, paper jams caused by the page sticking to the ink drum, roller marks when printing over heavy colour, and marks on the back of each print, as pages stack up after they are printed. These things are more likely to happen when printing large areas of heavy ink coverage. Large areas of heavy coverage also have a tendency to not print entirely evenly.
To avoid these issues we advise that large areas of heavy coverage be no darker than 75%.
Especially avoid heavy ink coverage in areas marked here in red.
Double-sided printing on the risograph is achieved in the same way as adding a new colour - one side is printed, then your page is turned over and put back through the machine.
When printing double-sided prints, lining up both sides perfectly is particularly difficult, so please bear this in mind. Double-sided printing also increases risks of smudging and marking, mentioned above. As a result, it is best not to have a lot of heavy ink coverage on both sides of a page.
A crisp white stock available with a smooth or rough finish, similar to Munken Lynx but slightly warmer.
Smooth and rough: 170gsm.
A soft ivory shade which adds a touch a of warmth, with a smooth finish.
100gsm, 120gsm, 170gsm, 240gsm.
A cool, neutral, high quality stock with a smooth or rough finish.
Smooth 100gsm, 120gsm, 170gsm, 240gsm, 300gsm or Rough 170gsm.
cairn straw cream
A distressed recycled stock, with tactile, textural fibres running throughout.
120gsm. (Due to the stiff finish, this feels more like 170gsm.
A very popular recycled stock with a subtle fleck and a smooth finish.
A very pale grey stock with a smooth finish. An ideal and sturdy substitute to newsprint, with the same newspaper-like feel.
We stock Context recycled coloured papers in 170gsm weight. Additional coloured papers can be ordered in on request.
The largest paper the RISO can print on is A3 (297X420mm).
The risograph can not print edge to edge, so there will always be a white border on A3 prints. We recommend you create your own 10mm border on your prints when creating your files.
file set-up checklist
This checklist will help ensure your files are ready to print before sending your order.
1. SEND FLATTENED FILES
Please send PDF files, not JPEG or any other format.
NO layers, NO transparency, NO InDesign Effects.
To Flatten in Photoshop:
When saving your PDF tick the “As a Copy” box.
To Flatten in Illustrator:
When saving your file untick “Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities” box.
2. SIZE AND RESOLUTION
Set resolution to 300dpi. Lower resolution will leave your images pixelated.
Files should be A3 (297 x 420mm) in size.
3. OTHER TIPS
Do not set text below 6pt, and do not set knockout text* below 8pt.
*Knockout text is white text on a coloured background.
Do not set any stroke weights to lower than 0.5pt.
Increasing contrast in your photos will help them print clearer.
DO NOT make any large areas of heavy ink coverage darker than 75% in density.
What do i need to send?
A separate greyscale PDF file for each layer of your design, labelled by colour.
Example: “Your_Name_Yellow.pdf” “Your_Name_Black.pdf”
An additional colour JPEG of your artwork, showing us how your finished piece should look.
Fill out our risograph order form and get a quote for your project.
Alternatively, our risograph print bundles offer quick and easy pricing for your project.
want to print yourself?
Assisted Risograph Printing Access
For those who are experienced in risograph printing, or have completed our introduction class, we offer assisted printing sessions.