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. Here at Secret Riso Club, our Riso machine is a MF9450 two-colour in one- pass.


Risograph printers were designed and released in Japan in the 1980s as a way to print efficiently and economically. Still used by small to mid-size organizations, artists and designers have adopted riso printing for its unique, vibrant and paint-like aesthetic. Speedy, efficient and eco-friendly, risograph printers employ a process similar to screen-printing with stencils and layers of ink.
The original is scanned through the machine and a master is created, by means of tiny heat spots on a thermal plate burning voids (corresponding to image areas) in a master sheet. This master is then wrapped around a drum and ink is forced through the voids in the master. The paper runs flat through the machine while the drum rotates at high speed to create each image on the paper.

︎︎︎ INK / COLORS ︎
We currently stock seven colors: Black, Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Fluorescent Pink & Violet. These colors can be blended to make new colors by layering and altering opacity.

︎︎︎Download Riso color swatches here︎︎︎

︎︎︎ 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 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 (11”x17”)  - A3
Printable Paper Sizes: 3.5” x 5.5” to 12” x 17”
Printable area aprox.: 10.75" x 16.75"

︎︎︎ FILE SET-UP ︎
To prepare your artwork for printing, first you need to save each color layer as a separate grayscale file (PDF). Keep art as vectors (outlined) when exporting. All solid shapes, type and images should be set to Registration Black (from 5% to 100% opacity).

If your project is full-bleed, include at least an 1/4 inch bleed area.

Please send us your work in PDF or JPEG (High-res - 300-600 DPI), and Illustrator (package), PSD, Indesign (Package). Images in PDF must be JPEG, grayscale and 300dpi; no effects and no transparency.

Fonts cannot be smaller than 5pt and lines 1pt minimum.

Due to the quirks of Riso, avoid large areas of solid color (they should be at max 50% opacity). Be sure to send us a full color JPEG or PDF as a reference. If attempting to print large blocks for solid ink, coverage might vary slightly, and there may be differences in gradation.

︎︎︎ TEST PRINT ︎
Running a test print or a proof is difficult because masters can’t be reused. For smaller scale projects, we can do a test print for an additional fee, and for larger projects like books, we can run a interior page and a cover test print if necessary for an additional fee.

 ︎︎︎ PAPER ︎
Riso can print on paper sizes up to 11" x 17" and weights from 20lb bond to 110lb card stock.

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, Mohawk, Glodan.

Maximum Size: Tabloid / Ledger  - A3
Printable Paper Sizes: 3.5” x 5.5” to 11” x 17”



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 resistant.
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, and let them dry overnight.

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.  

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