WHAT IS RISO PRINT?
Riso print is a sustainable stencil printing technique, using the digital duplicator from Riso Kagaku Corp. The duplicator technology, like its predecessor the mimeograph, is based on a stencil printer. It works on the same principles as screen printing. As with screen printing, risograph printing works with separate color layers, but is not at all labor intensive and fully automatic. Because the inks are semi-transparent, a large range of color shades are possible when you mix them.
In August 1980 the Riso Kagaku Corporation developed the first digital duplicator. With the risograph it became possible to make stencils and print on the same machine. Riso designed the machine to generate quality output at high speed in one color at a time. Many churches, schools and small businesses therefore had a risograph in service. This made it possible to produce printed matter in-house very quickly, in relatively high runs. Chances are you’ve once held a sheet of paper printed with the risograph.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Risograph works by means of stencils made from washi paper (masters) with a plastic coating applied on it. After you send the print files to the printer, the machine makes a stencil from a new part of the master roll. The machine burns the plastic coating away where the ink has to pass through. After that, the new master is placed on the drum automatically. You can start printing directly afterwards!
You can make a master from a scan or computer file of a black and white version of your design. The risograph prints all the black parts of your design in the color of the drum that is in the machine at that moment. It will print parts that are gray in a lighter shade of that color. For a multi-color design, we change the color drum per color layer to a make new master from another black and white version of your design.
Although the machine was not designed for it, it is possible to print many color layers on top of each other. You can even mimic full color print. The paper passes through the machine multiple times with multi-colored printing. This causes small imperfections in the registration and in the coverage. Many enthusiasts to choose risography because of these small deviations, because it gives the printed matter charm, playfulness and character. Artists love this machine because of it.
Multiple color layers with a lot of coverage can also leave traces of the feed wheels on the paper. By limiting the maximum coverage in the middle of the paper and printing the color layer with the most ink last, this can be well controlled. Risoprint works very well for illustrations, cards, posters and so on. But photos can also produce special results in all kinds of color profiles. However, Risoprint is not for everyone and it can be disappointing for some when risoprint shows its idiosyncrasies. We are happy to advise you on this if you are not sure whether your design is suitable for risoprint. Also check out our instructions on how to set up your files and samples of our printed work.