Riso Basics

Often called the “punkest form of printmaking,” Risography combines the speed and affordability of mechanized copiers with mesmerizing color and texture similar to that of silkscreen printing.

Risograph printing is surprisingly low-cost. The printer burns a “master” of a single-color layer onto the drum, which functions as a stencil when printing each copy. Because most of the expense is housed in burning the master, Risograph printing is most effective for large-scale productions. Think: the more copies made, the more cost-effective your project will be!

Here, the drum has been ejected from the printer. The wax paper-like material covering its surface is the master.

An image is sent either digitally from the attached PC, or from a physical original via the scanner bed. The master is created by burning the image onto the master roll inside the printer. This stencil is then wrapped around the ink drum.

The machine feeds paper under the ink drum as it rotates and ink is pushed out through the stencil to create an impression.

Riso soy-based ink is highly saturated, and is unlike any color produced by standard CMYK printing. Therefore, there is a significant color shift that occurs when reproducing photographs. 

Though it is fairly accurate, Riso is inherently prone to slight misregistration on each print. Therefore, each print is highly unique!