We are currently offering free Risograph printing for activists. Qty. 100, 11x17 in., 2-color Risograph posters on our house paper. Email luca@colpapress.com for more details.

Risograph prints are made in-house on a RISO Printer-Duplicator GR 3750 in a variety of colors, including: black, blue, red, green, purple, fluorescent pink, teal, orange, brown and yellow. 

Other colors can be made by overprinting.

About the process: 

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. Because the Risograph uses real ink rather than toner, each image has a hand-made quality and must be printed on matte paper with a "tooth" so that it can absorb the ink as the pages stack on each other. 

Quick File Guidelines for Riso

PDF Creation: For each color layer you want to print, Make a 300 DPI PDF in Greyscale  at actual size and labelled by color. For example a 2-color print would be: “filename_red.pdf” and “filename_black.pdf.” Repeat this process for each page and enclose full-color reference images when necessary.

Color Flats: For any large color flats, reduce to 80% opacity. Beware large flats may smudge and your print collaborator may alter your file slightly for optimal printing.

Multi-Color Fill: For any areas of color-fill or block-color printing, consider adding “trapping” — these are areas which “line” and “fill” overlap each other to create a pocket of double ink, rather than white space, during color alignment.

Typography: For any small typography, convert to from “live type” to outlines (cmd+o) and change the fill color from black to “registration black.” Do not set type below 7pt. Beware white type on black background will fill in slightly.

Image Treatment: Do not pre-apply any halftones to images — The Riso does this automatically.

Effects: Flatten all effects and transparencies on complicated documents, otherwise you may get undesired artifacts in your print.

Bleed/Trim: Allow for at least 1/2 an inch on all sides of printed sheet (full bleed print is impossible, but trimming is possible.) Add crop marks if necessary.

Resource Conservation: Consider printing multiple images on a single sheet, or "ganging up," to save resources and double output when possible. Sheets can be trimmed to create multiples. On this same note, ask yourself if your project could be less pages, less ink, etc.

Imperfections: Be aware slight color skew and other imperfections may occur and is a normal feature in this method of high-speed high-volume printing. Think “newspaper” rather than “fine photo print.”

Further Questions: Reach out with any specific questions if something is not covered here.

For inquiries or for a custom quote, please contact Luca at (415) 425-4723 or email luca@colpapress.com

*thanks to Kurt from txtBooks for making these guidelines!