What is Risograph Printing?

Originally intended for business printing purposes, Risograph uses a stencil and ink process, similar to automated screen printing, in order to reproduce physical or digital originals.

Risographs looks just like a photocopier at first glance, but the guts are entirely different. Like an offset press, Risograph printers use masters, which means that it can print up to two colours/layers at a time. Each additional layer requires an additional pass through the machine.

Risograph is designed to fill the gap for print runs too large for copiers and too small for an offset press.

Economical and environmentally friendly, Risograph uses soy inks and stencils/masters made of natural fibers to create spot colour prints that are both quick and affordable. Printing with a Risograph provides a way to produce posters, books, zines/pamphlets, cards, envelopes and all other kinds of printed matter.

We print using a Risograph MZ 790U digital duplicator with 7 colour cylinders.


We currently stock 7 colours cylinders in our shop. Risograph inks do not conform exactly to Pantone standards and are slightly translucent, ideal for overprinting and creating additional colours and tones. The pantone reference numbers below are approximate.

Hex: 000000   Pantone: Black U RGB: 0, 0, 0   CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 100
Hunter Green
Hex: 407060 Pantone: 342 U RGB: 64, 112, 96 CMYK: 96, 7, 80, 33
Hex: 0078BF   Pantone: 3005 U   RGB: 0, 120, 191   CMYK: 99, 22, 0, 1
Hex: 765BA7 Pantone: 2685 U RGB: 118, 91, 167 CMYK: 61, 73, 0, 0
Brite Red
Hex: F15060 Pantone: 185 U RGB: 241, 80, 96 CMYK: 0, 67, 60, 5
Fluorescent Pink
Hex: FF48B0 Pantone: 806 U RGB: 255, 72, 176 CMYK: 0, 72, 31, 0
Hex: FFE800 Pantone: YELLOW U RGB: 255, 232, 0 CMYK: 0, 9, 100, 0

Paper and Printing

This machine is designed to take conventional uncoated North America paper sizes, and works most efficiently with Tabloid 11″ x 17″ sized paper. Our machine can feed paper up to 12.5″ x 17″, but the printing area is constrained to 11.3″ x 16.5″.

Because of the soy inks we use, we cannot print on coated and glossy paper. We find the best printing results come from recycled and vellum finishes (ie. toothy, raw). Our Risograph can accept paper weights ranging from 16lb. bond (60 gsm) to 80lb. cover (216 gsm.).

Paper we recommend and keep in stock:

  • Newsprint – 30lb. Offset
  • Rolland Enviro 100% Recycled (White) – 20 lb. Copy, 60, 70, & 80 lb. Text
  • Domtar Cougar – Natural 80 lb. Cover
  • Mohawk Via Vellum – 65 & 80 lb. Cover

Risographic Eccentricity

Part of what draws many people to Risograph printing is the visible signs of the printing process and the slight variations of ink coverage, registration and newspaper-like qualities across a projects prints. Here is a few unique considerations particular to the Risograph.

Registration and Trapping

Registration will not be perfect, nor will each impression. In fact, it is best to assume that misregistration WILL happen, but it can be mitigated. One way to ensure better registration is to incorporate trapping into your design. Trapping is the process of adding overlap between colours that interact in order to avoid gaps or white spaces in case of misregistration.

Feed Marks and Smudging

Risographs feed paper with a set of rubber rollers. It is not uncommon in multi layer prints and dense layers of colour to result in roller marks along the leading edge.  These marks can be cleaned up easily with a soft white eraser.

Depending on the paper finish and ink coverage, the soy inks can begin to smudge and across the board will maintain a newspaper-like quality to the ink application. although this is present in every print, choosing the right paper and lowering the density of ink on large areas will greatly reduce the effects of smudging for the end user.

Street Art and Weather

Riso inks combine soy-oil, water and pigment, and therefore remain water soluble after application. If your work will be out in the elements and on telephone poles, different colour inks and papers stand up better to rain and snow than others. Ask us for advice on how each colour fairs the storm.

Print Samples

Check out our Print log or Instagram feed for samples.

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