WHAT IS RISO?
Riso, or Risoprint, is a sustainable printing technique with character made by using the Risograph stencil duplicator, which results in intensely colored prints. The Risograph itself looks a bit like a copier, but works on the same principles as screen printing! The machine prints with rice oil based inks. As with screen printing, each color layer is printed separately.
The risograph is a duplicating machine from Japan from Riso Kagaku Corporation. The technology of the risograph was developed by Riso in the 1980s. With the risograph it became possible to make stencils on a machine and to make direct prints. The aim of Riso was to be able to disseminate information as efficiently as possible at, for example, schools and associations. Many churches, schools and small businesses therefore had a risograph. 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) on which a plastic coating has been applied. After forwarding the printed matter, a stencil is made in the machine on a new part of the master roll. That plastic coating is burned away where the ink has to pass. After that, the new master is automatically tensioned on the drum. Printing can be done immediately afterwards.
Risoprint cannot be compared with offset, laser or inkjet printing. Instead of printing very precisely in full color, the risograph prints each color separately – in fact, like screen printing. Since the paper passes through the machine more often with multi-coloured printing, there are always small imperfections in the registration and in the coverage. These small deviations are precisely the reason for many enthusiasts to choose Risoprint – because it gives the printed matter charm, playfulness and character. Nevertheless, we are perfectionists and do what we can to avoid traces and print as precisely as possible.
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.