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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.
We offer a variety of printing and finishing services. The Riso machine can accommodate up to 11" x 17" sized paper to create the following projects:
Posters, flyers, books, art prints, menus, maps, folded cards, envelopes, zines, brochures, and much more.
Risograph Printing is a digital duplicator process that has unique characteristics and always contains slight imperfections. These include:
- Smudging. Risograph ink is made from a combination of environmentally friendly soy oil, water and pigment, the prints are reminiscent of newspaper ink and it is possible to smudge the ink.
- Uneven coverage. Large flat areas of solid ink coverage are likely to show some slight variations, which can include pinholes and flooding.
- Registration. Riso is like screen printing in that each ink color is layered on separately. A single piece of paper will run through our machines several times for multi-color projects and the overlap of colors can be irregular.
- Tire marks. When a paper is fed through the machine multiple times and it is heavily inked, the paper feeder rollers may leave tire marks on the pages face or end sheets.
The Riso can accept paper with weights from 20lb bond (75 gsm) to 80lb cover (218 gsm). We keep a variety of paper types and weights in stock.
Due to the nature of Riso ink, we can only work with absorbent, non-coated paper. Using absorbent paper will minimize potential smudging. We have found that vellum and smooth papers work the best.
More information about our Papers here.
Our machines use plant-based inks in a variety of colors designed specifically for the Risograph process. The colors can be used with transparency and overprinting to create additional colors through overlapping.
We currently have 33 different ink colors to choose from. We recommend using 1-4 ink colors for your print project.
*these inks are more expensive than the rest of our colors