Frequently asked questions
Questions about Riso
What is Riso?
Risograph is a print process which combines the best of digital and traditional print: a hand-made look and feel with the speed, low-cost and efficiency of a modern printer. Though it looks on the outside like a copy machine, the Risograph is not a copier. It is a duplicator (think mimeograph) with a process like screen printing. The Riso duplicator internally creates a stencil that is laid onto a drum filled with ink. The drum then spins at high speed, forcing the ink through the stencil onto the paper, where it is absorbed creating a unique look and texture.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, the Riso Kagaku Corporation is the inventor and distributor of Riso print equipment. The Risograph was marketed for high volume and inexpensive duplicating and to this day it is mainly used by businesses, schools and churches who need production runs of 50 to 10,000 prints of the same thing. Because of Riso’s similarities to screen printing and the availability of 21 standard colors along with 50 custom colors, designers and artists have begun adapting these machines to produce beautiful and unique spot color based works.
How does it work?
Riso combines the best of digital and traditional print: a hand-made look and feel with the speed, low-cost and efficiency of a modern printer.
The Riso duplicator internally creates a stencil that is laid onto a drum filled with ink. The drum then spins at high speed, forcing the ink through the stencil onto the paper, where it is absorbed creating a unique look and texture.
What is the largest size you can print?
10.5" x 16.5" on 11"x17" paper
How much does it cost to print?
If you have a specific project in mind please fill out the request a quote form. We try to get back to all quote requests within 1-3 business days.
How long will it take for my order to be complete?
Our average turnaround time is 2-3 weeks but can vary depending on our current production schedule and the complexity of your project. Please be sure to let us know of any firm deadlines you have right away and we will get back to you to let you know if we will be able to accommodate your request.
Do you provide the paper?
Yes. We work closely with a local paper distributor and can order any brand you would like (as long as it is uncoated). The paper mills we use the most for our projects are French Paper Co., Neenah, Mohawk, and Domtar.
I'm not able to set up my files for print. Can you help me?
Yes. We charge an hourly fee for file handling and will accept native Adobe files as well as scanned in photos, PDFs, and more. Please refer to our file set-up and if you have any questions don't hesitate to email us.
Do you have a minimum print amount?
Yes. Our minimums are 50 for prints, 100 for books.
Do you ship internationally?
At this time we are not offering international shipping for printed client work or items from our web store. Please consult this atlas of Riso printers to find a Riso printer close to you.
How do I pay for my printing job?
Once your quote has been finalized and you want to proceed, we will send you an invoice through email which will include a secure link to pay. We accept all major credit cards and PayPal payments.
Is Riso printing archival?
Riso printing holds up very well inside of books where it is unexposed to direct sunlight. For art prints and posters, most inks have a similar light fastness to dye based inkjet printing. If left in direct sunlight the ink will fade or discolor over time. It is best to keep Riso prints out of direct sunlight and frame them with a UV protective glass or plexi.
Will you print my wedding invitations?
We are sorry to say that we are no longer offering wedding print services unless you are already an established client with our studio.
Questions about our studio
Where are you located?
We are located in beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We work with clients all over the country.
Can I visit your studio?
Our studio is closed to the public. If you are interested in scheduling a visit, please send us an email.
Are you hiring? Are you offering internships?
Our current job opportunities are listed on this page.
How did you start your business? What Riso machine should I buy? How expensive are the machines? I'm having a problem with my equipment, can you help?
We get a lot of questions about our studio and our equipment. While we wish we could respond to all of them in detail, we often do not have the time or bandwidth. If you have questions about our business we offer consultation services by the hour over the phone. Please email us to set up an appointment.