Riso basics

Risograph involves a process similar to that of screen printing.  The original image is scanned on the machine and burned onto a master copy, which is then wrapped around a print drum.  Rotating at high speed, the drum pushes the ink through the screen and onto the paper as it  passes through the machine. 

Print Area

Just as with screen printing, your artwork should be setup as separate greyscale PDF files, one for each color layer.  Please note that the Riso cannot print full bleed, and large areas of block color won't print out evenly, and will also cause print marks.  There is a 1/4 inch border on prints. 

Maximum Size: Ledger  - A3
Printable Paper Sizes: 3.5” x 5.5” to 11” x 17”
Printable area approx. 10.75” x 16.75”



We currently stock four colors: black, warm red, medium blue and yellow. These colors can be blended to make new colors by layering and altering opacity.

  • Black – Pantone Neutral Black U
  • Medium Blue – Pantone 2935 U
  • Yellow – Pantone Yellow U
  • Red – Pantone Warm Red U


File set-up

To prepare your artwork for printing, first you need to save each color layer as a separate PDF. Keep art as vectors (outlined) when exporting. All solid shapes and type should be set to Registration Black.

Please send us your work in PDF format or JPEG (High-res - 300-600 DPI). Images in PDF must be JPEG, grayscale and 300dpi; no effects and no transparency. You can also send us an Illustrator file with separate layers.

Fonts cannot be smaller than 5pt.

Due to the quirks of Riso, avoid large areas of block color (they should be max 75%) and heavy ink.  Be sure to send us a full color JPEG or PDF as a reference.



The Riso can print on paper sizes up to 11" x 17" and weights from 20lb bond to 110lb. 

Riso inks work on most uncoated papers, and do not work on any coated papers or tracing papers. If you are looking for a specialty paper stock, we recommend checking out French Paper Co.

We use paper stock Vellum Bristol Cover in white and yellow. 

Maximum Size: Ledger  - A3
Printable Paper Sizes: 3.5” x 5.5” to 11” x 17”
Printable area approx. 10.75” x 16.75”


Take note: How to Get the best results


Riso ink is made of soy oil, water and pigment, so like newspaper ink, smudging is a possibility.  Also, as Riso ink can smudge or rub off, it is preferable to avoid large block areas of color for flyers and covers, in particular bright colors. We can advise on how to make a project more smudge proof. 

Needle Marks

The print is picked off the print drum when printing with a needle, and heavy ink blocking will make the needle drag across the paper leaving a line. 

Ink Transfer

Heavy ink can lead to transfer between prints as the prints are stacked on top of each other as they exit the printer. 

Roller Marks

Paper feeder rollers may leave marks on the page when a paper is run through the Riso multiple times and has heavy ink. This can be avoided by printing heavy inks last.


Just as with screen printing, with Riso each ink color is layered on separately. That means a single sheet of paper will run through the machine multiple times for projects printing more than 2 layers, and the registration of color can be irregular.  Print marks may also appear, but these can be easily rubbed off with an eraser. 

Uneven coverage

If printing large blocks for solid ink, coverage might vary slightly, and there may be differences in gradation. 


Getting a Quote

Quotes are created based on designs needed, paper requirements, quantity of colors and copies.
Just as with screenprinting, production time is spent mostly on setting up the job, so the main cost is derived from the designs and colors needed. Please get in touch to receive a quote, and include the following info:

  • description of project
  • quantity required
  • dimensions
  • color quantity
  • deadline