All about riso printing

If you would like to work on a print or book project with us, please keep the following in mind:

Risograph printing is a digital duplicating process, falling somewhere between silkscreen, photocopy, and offset. Images are transferred either digitally through a print controller or scanning on the glass top flat bed. 

The largest print area we can achieve is 10.25" x 16.25" on 11" x 17" paper. When we can, we like to utilize as much paper space as possible, so keep this in mind when setting up the imposition of your book. We will work with you on this if you have any questions. 

Because soy-based ink is liquidy, Risograph printing work best on uncoated, toothy paper. The thinnest paper is 20lb bond and the heaviest is 80lb cover. Our favorite paper, our house stock, is Mohawk Via Vellum. We stock this paper in 70lb text weight and 65lb cover weight, bright white and warm white.

We can also special order paper for you. We are especially fond of French Paper Pop Tone and Dur-O-Tone Newsprint. Please allow extra time for these paper orders. 

The ink used in Risograph printing is soy based and comes pre mixed in cartridges. Inks produced by Riso don’t come from the Pantone spectrum, though we can offer approximates, and there is no CMYK. But because the ink is so transparent and density can easily be controlled, you can create a variety of “close enough” CMYK combinations. Also, because each color is laid down one at a time, mis-registration can often occur. To account for this, we encourage you to trap your images. Or just go with it!

Risograph can handle many different types of imagery. Photographs can be beautifully reproduced as single color, duotone or full color (faux cmyk), due to Risograph’s ability to work with halftones. Line work and text can also work exceptionally well. If preparing files with line work and/or computer generated text, please work with vector files in Illustrator. Otherwise, the Risograph will pick them up as a halftone and the result will be unclean lines. If combining photos and text, work with the photos in Photoshop and the text in Illustrator, then combine in InDesign. You (and us) will achieve the best results this way.

Dense, large areas of color do not print very well on the Risograph. The ink becomes heavy, leading to lots of smudges, offsetting, and roller marks. Please use 70-90% value. 

Any files sent to us should be as 400 dpi greyscale PDF (a separate file for each color, clearly labelled) along with a color pdf proof. We may also ask for packaged InDesign or layered/unflattened eps or psd files, if it seems like we might need to make adjustments. If you need assistance setting up your files, we are more than happy to help you at a $25/hr pre-press fee.


In addition to printing services, we offer cutting, folding, and binding. Contact us for these options!