1. What is Riso printing?
Risograph printing is affordable and environmentally friendly, and is perfect for posters, flyers, zines and booklets. It uses soya-based inks and produces prints that have the look and feel of a screenprint. There is a limited colour palette, which must be thought about when designing work for print. If you scroll down this webpage there is a bundle of technical information and advice to help you get the most out of Risograph printing, but if you are unsure or have any questions please get in touch, we are here to help. Feel free to drop in and see a wide range of examples, we are happy to give you a free no-obligation demonstration of the print process (time permitting) if it is of interest.
Our Risograph printing is very competitively priced. There are too many combinations of paper, inks, sizes and quantities to list, but generally speaking printing with more colours and on heavier paper is more expensive. There isn't a minimum order, but it's usually worth getting at least 50 copies, and there is generally a good economy of scale for larger quantities. We usually have a large range of papers in stock, including vintage and coloured stocks.
Turnaround time depends on our availability with other projects, but most of the time orders are fulfilled within a few working days (plus delivery time if necessary). Some examples of pricing are shown in the tables below, please email or call to get a quote for your particular requirements. Prices shown are exclusive of VAT, which must be added for certain types of print.
A5 Flyers printed on 170gm Munken Lynx Rough
A3 Prints on 170gm Munken Lynx Rough paper
Business Cards (85mm x 55mm) printed on 270gm Colorplan
3. Risograph printing epxplained...
“Riso” or “Risograph” printing is a unique print technology which can be thought of as a sort-of digital screen-print. Artwork is transferred to a perforated stencil (called a “master”), which is attached to a rotating drum. Paper travels flat through the machine and comes in to contact with a soya based ink, squeezed through the rotating drum screen on to the paper.
Each drum is a fixed colour, so to create a multi-coloured image, the drums are manually changed and new masters created; therefore the artwork must be designed to print these different coloured separations.
The transparency of the ink provides the opportunity to overprint colours, which can be very effective indeed. When designing work for Riso printing, you should think about the overlap of, and order in which the consecutive colours are printed.
Riso printing is most economical for medium size print runs, between 10 - 10,000.
When used effectively, the Riso produces stunning prints with a tactile and rich aesthetic, akin to the traditional screen-print.
4. Riso colours
The currently available colours at the Holodeck are Black, Blue, Medium Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, Fluorescent Pink, Purple,Fluorescent Orange, Metallic Gold and Light Grey. The fluorescent colours are very bright, the Light Grey is opaque and prints well on coloured/dark stock, as does the metallic gold which has a lovely sheen - these qualities are best seen in the flesh.
5. Riso Colour Mixing
New shades and tones of colours can be produced by overprinting, several colours on top of each other, or by printing on coloured paper.
6. Duo-tone - 2-Colour prints
A simple but effective image can be made from overprinting an image in one colour (e.g. a grey-scaled photograph)with a flat colour.
7. 4-Colour Separation prints
Riso printing was not designed for full colour printing, however one can simulate a full colour print by overlaying CMYK like separations. Since exact Magenta and Cyan inks are not available for the Riso, we can substitute these for Red and Blue, or Fluorescent pink and blue, or any combination you choose.
Below we see the 4-colour image, printed in the order Blue, Yellow, Fluorescent Pink, Black. Notice that the registration between the layers is not perfect; this is unavoidable with Riso printing, and should certainly be considered when designing your work.
8. Paper size and margins.
The maximum paper size 297x432mm, or slightly longer than A3; the minimum paper size is 100x148mm. The maximum printing area is 291x413mm. The Riso printer imposes 3mm margins on the long sides, 2mm on the top edge, and 5mm on the bottom edge (meaning that an A3 image sent from a file would be scaled to something like 97%). Full-bleed printing is not possible, but can be achieved by trimming down the margins afterwards.
9. Paper Stock
A wide range of papers may be printed on, from between 46g/m2 to about 400g/m2. Very light paper may create a paper-jam and should be tested before a production run. Speciality papers and those with special coatings should also be tested; Riso ink may struggle to dry on these speciality stocks. I generally keep 90g/m2, 120g/m2, 170g/m2, and 300g/m2 Munken Lynx Rough papers in stock, but I have many samples from the major paper merchants for you to choose from.
10. Artwork guidelines
The Riso has four printing “modes”:
Line: prints a solid area of colour, perfect for text or vector graphics.
Photo: a customisable dot-screen is used to print photo-like images.
Duo: For images containing line and photo.
Pencil: For pencil drawings.
Artwork should generally be supplied in PDF format, with a separate file for each colour. To print solid areas, they must be set to rich black/registration black, i.e. 100% CMYK.
For photographs, drawings, or indeed anything, you can choose to vary the parameters of the dot-screen (both angle and density), which can be used to produce effective results.
Heavy Ink Usage
It is recommended that no areas of heavy ink are printed too close to the edge where the paper is fed in to the machine. If for example you were printing a letterhead, rotate it 180°.
Large areas of solid colour should be avoided, since these may cause the paper to stick to the drum, causing a jam; and because the paper is outputted in a pile, it may cause a ghost image on the reverse of the next page (which could be a problem when duplex printing, e.g. for booklets). Limit large blocks of colour to about a 75% grey.
The larger an area of print the longer it takes to dry, and easier it is rubbed off on to fingers, so particularly avoid this for things which are frequently handled, like book-covers, flyers etc.
When there is a heavy amount of ink in a piece of work, the paper feeding mechanism may print small track marks at the edge of the paper. If so, these can be removed easily with an eraser.
If you are printing shapes inside each other, consider trapping them by making a small overlap at the boundaries, this is to avoid any white gaps.
11. Booklet/Book printing.
Complicated documents such as books or booklets must be provided as InDesign files. It is also a good idea to provide a physical mock-up of the document, to check that the print order is correct. I will work out the imposition of the pages for printing myself, so just provide a file with the pages in their linear consecutive order. Imposition (working out the order of pages to print) can be done for you, for a small fee.
If the booklet is to be saddle-stitched, or bound in sections, (i.e. made of several pages folded inside each other) you may wish to consider the margin creep, since work too close to the edge may be cut away when trimming. An extra 3mm+ of bleed should be added for any full bleed pages. If you are having a perfect bound book, add extra space in the inside margin - especially if you have a full spread image, otherwise you will loose the middle of the image to the spine.
Booklets are always printed with the correct grain direction, so that they open well and pages are turned with ease, regardless of the type of binding you choose.
There are many binding options available, including paperback saddle stitched (stapled), perfect bound (glue), spiral bound, hand-stitched, hard-backed with cloth covers and foil blocking or embossing.