What is a Risograph (Riso) printer?

Risograph illustration

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 silk screening. 

The Riso 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 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 creates thermographic images on masters (or screens) that are laid onto an internal drum. The drum then spins at high speed, forcing the ink through the master screens onto the paper, where it is absorbed creating a unique look and texture.

Risograph drum working illustration

Why would I want to print on a Risograph?

It's fast, efficient and cost effective.
It's like an offset printer, laser printer and screen printer were formed into some kind of unholy, super-powered hybrid mutant. Riso combines the best of the digital and traditional world: a hand-made look and feel with the speed, low-cost and efficiency of a modern printer.


It's environmentally friendly.
The Risograph uses soy-based ink, the print screens are made from plant fibers, and the machines are incredibly energy efficient with a minimum amount of biodegradable waste.

It's unique.
There are multiple colors that are unique to the Riso process including fluorescent colors which are very difficult to create digitally and through other print methods.

How can I get my project printed?

Head on over to our quote request form. We will reach out to you and work with you to make sure that you are getting the best results for your project. If you have any other questions please reach out to us at hello@risolvestudio.com!