Riso printing frequently asked questions

Interested in finding out more about the Risograph printing process? Here's some of the most common questions we get.

If you want to find out more, why not pop in to our Windermere Riso studio and chat to one of our printmakers about how we can help turn your artwork in to fabulous Riso prints.

Once you're ready to order take a look at our Riso Printing Bundle.

What is Risograph printing?

Risograph printing is like screen printing but done on a machine. The Riso prints one ink colour at a time using a stencil applied to a rotating drum. By feeding pages through two, three or four times and changing the drum stencil, you can produce gorgeous multi-layered artwork. The Risograph was invented by the Riso Kagaku Corporation in Japan in the 1980s as a low-cost alternative to traditional litho printing, but is now used by artists to create unique artworks.

What is the difference between Riso printing and normal printing?

Normal printing uses CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black)) inks to reproduce colours, whereas Risograph printing uses spot ink colours to add an extra dimension and texture to the work. Each Riso print will have a unique one-of-a-kind charm and quality that we just adore. The Riso process allows artists to use bright and vivid colours that you can’t reproduce with digital or litho printing.

What can you print with a Risograph?

From flyers to art prints, Risograph is used in a variety of applications. Posters, zines, greeting cards and maps all look great when printed in Riso. Artwork can be created digitally or traditional artwork such as paintings or collages can be scanned to create digital files prior to printing.

Can you Riso print photographs?

Riso printing can be used to great effect with photographs, especially with monochrome photos. The grainy effect of Riso printing gives a really cool vintage vibe. With a bit of technical know-how you can also replicate CMYK separation and print in more than one colour, creating a stencil for each colour you want to print. The slightly off registration and bright colours that makes Riso printing so unique can be used to create really striking artworks.

Can you Riso print my artwork?

Yes, we can! Whether you are an amateur artist or a professional illustrator, let us bring your designs to life in vibrant Riso colour. Simply follow our technical specifications to make sure you get the best result from the printing process (any technical questions, just drop us a line!), then email us your designs. Your artwork will be printed single-sided on high quality A3 170gsm white paper, and then posted to you, UK delivery included in the price. A nice little bundle for art prints or posters! Click here for more information.

How do I prepare an image for Riso printing?

The Riso prints one ink colour at a time so you need to prepare your image by separating out the colours of your artwork. Each colour layer of your image must be saved separately as a high-resolution grayscale PDF. These individual grayscale layers are then used to create colour Riso stencils. For more information, take a look at our technical specifications. Your artwork can be created digitally or traditional artwork such as watercolour or oil paintings can be scanned to create digital files prior to printing.

How is Risograph printing done?

The Riso prints one ink colour at a time to build up the finished artwork. Each colour is applied to the paper using a stencil applied to a rotating drum. Pages are fed through the printer two, three or four times to produce multi-layered artwork. Setting up the different drums and feeding through the paper can be quite a time consuming process!

Can you Riso print on black paper?

Yes, you can! Metallic inks look stunning printed on black paper.

Is Riso a sustainable choice?

The Risograph process is a low-energy and environmentally friendly printing method because it doesn't require chemical dryers or extensive heating. The stencils are made from plant fibres and can be used to create large print-runs from a single stencil. The inks used are based on sustainable raw ingredients which are printed on to uncoated paper which means it works well on recycled paper stock too.

What inks do Risograph printers use?

The ink colours used in Riso printing are unique and distinct. The inks used are based on plant-based raw ingredients, a more sustainable choice than oil based inks. The bright, vivid colours are sometimes hard to capture fully on computer screens so why not visit our Windermere store and take a look at our Riso gallery wall in person.