Riso Print Guide

What is Riso Printing?

Risograph is a printing method which blends elements of screen printing and photocopying as individual colours are printed layer by layer. It was introduced in the 1980’s in Japan by the Riso Kagaku Corporation and was developed to create a new low cost, high speed printing process.

Risograph printing is one of the most eco-friendly ways to print. We use soy-based, non- toxic inks and stencils made from natural fibres. The machine is energy efficient, free from harmful emissions and has minimal waste.

How Does It Work?

The Risograph is a duplicator, that uses spot colours and stencils to create vibrant and textured prints. The machine contains ink drums which are changed depending on the chosen colours. We have a dual drum machine that can print two colours in one pass.

When we send artwork to the Riso machine via computer or flatbed scanner, it creates a stencil by burning the artwork onto thermal paper and wrapping it around the ink drum. As the drum rotates, paper is drawn through the machine from left to right and the ink is pushed through the stencil onto the paper. We we repeat this process to print multi-layered colourful prints.

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Paper Stock

We only use 100% recycled or FSC Certified paper, specifically uncoated to absorb the Riso ink. We stock a range of white, off-white, and coloured papers from 80gsm to 350gsm. We use Context Natural and Arden White as our house stocks.

Context Natural is 100% recycled – a warm, off white shade. Available in 100gsm, 135gsm, 190gsm, 250gsm, 300gsm.

Arden White is 100% recycled – white shade. It has a similar spec to Context Natural but is a brighter white. Available in 120gsm, 190gsm, 250gsm, 350gsm.

Cairn Natural Cream is 100% recycled – a warm cream shade with soft & ’toothy’ feel.

Cairn Eco Kraft is 100% recycled –  a tactile, flecked, ‘biscuity’ shade. Available in 280gsm.

Steinbeis is 100% recycled – and off-white grey shade with visible flecks. Available in 80gsm.

Evercopy Plus is 100% recycled – and off-white shade. Available in 80gsm.

Evercopy Premium  is 100% recycled – white shade. Available in 80gsm.

Colour 80gsm – multiple colours available.


We have 11 colours in total. Yellow, Fluorescent Orange, Fluorescent Pink, Red, Blue, Green, Teal, Purple, Brown, Black and Metallic Gold. Riso Inks are soy-based and semi-transparent. They can be overlaid at different opacities to achieve amazing results and colour combinations. Multiple colours are printed by interchanging the ink drums in the machine.


Artwork + File Set-Up

The maximum size paper we can print on is A3 (420mm x 297mm). The max printable area is 410 x 287mm. The Riso cannot print A3 full bleed (to the edge of the page) so please leave a 5mm border on all A3 size prints. To achieve a full bleed print we can trim down from A3 to any size.

To print your work we need a greyscale (black & white) layer for each colour you wish to use. The Riso reads your file in greyscale and transforms it into your chosen colour. For example, if you wanted to create a two colour print, you would create two separate greyscale layers for each colour.

You can send your artwork as greyscale flattened PDFs or Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator files. Files must include your individual greyscale layers labelled as the colours you wish to print e.g. side1_inkcolourname. You can upload your PDFs when requesting a quote or send your PDF & Adobe files to hello@wildpressriso.com. We can also scan physical artwork using the Riso flatbed scanner.

Riso Checklist

  • Files are A3 in size or the exact size you wish to print.
  • Each colour has a separate layer or print file.
  • PDFs are max 10MB.
  • A 5mm blank border is included on A3 prints.
  • Include crop marks and a 3mm bleed for full bleed printing & trimming.
  • Files are set to 300dpi.
  • Files are set to greyscale (black & white).
  • All fonts are outlined and layers are flattened.
  • A full colour mock-up image is included for reference.

Helpful Things To Note


As each colour is layered separately, the overlap of colours and alignment can be irregular. Every print will look slightly different. Unexpected marks are part of the process and is what really make each print totally unique! Adding trapping to your design will help avoid mis-registration.


Large areas of solid ink coverage are likely to flood and show variations in texture. Make sure the opacity of large ink areas is set to maximum 85% to avoid flooding. Blotting paper is a sheet of paper placed in between each finished print. This can be added to avoid ink transfer.

Max Printable Area

It’s helpful to remember that standard A3 prints will have a 5mm blank border. We can then trim A3 to standard sizes such as A4, A5, A6 with a blank border fitting two x A4, four x A5, eight x A6 prints per A3 sheet. 

Full bleed means printing to the edge of the page so the final result has no border. We can trim full bleed to any size smaller than A3. Full bleed prints are more expensive than prints with a blank border of the same size, as this requires the use of more paper.

Roller Marks & Smudging

When paper is fed through the machine multiple times, the paper feeder rollers may leave marks on the top centre of the page. Roller marks can appear when printing artworks with multiple colours or heavy ink coverage. While this is often part of the process, we do our utmost to avoid this occurring. They can also often be easily removed with an eraser.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Prices are calculated based on the number of ink colours used, paper weight, size, quantity and any additional services such as trimming, folding or binding. As we use stencils & spot colours, the more ink colours used, the higher the overall print cost.​

No, we have no minimum order. You can order a single copy however the more copies you print, the cheaper each unit becomes and so becomes better value for money. This is because the Riso is a duplicator and most of the cost is in the initial stencil set-up.

The turnaround time will vary with each project depending on the number of inks used and drying time needed.  We will give you an estimated turnaround time when quoting. A general guideline from job confirmation + print file check would be:

1 colour print : 1-2 working days.

2/3 colour print: 2-3 working days.

4+ colour print: 4-5 working days.

Binding and folding will also add to the turnaround time. We are happy to do rush orders if possible for an additional fee of £10. 

The lightest weight we print on is 80gsm and the heaviest papers we print on are 300gsm/350gsm.

Yes we offer design services, helping you materialise your project from start to print finish. Lou is an experienced designer & illustrator and would be happy to help. Please get in touch to arrange this.

Yes we are happy to help you and advise the best way to print. We also can provide extra file set-up services. Please email us to arrange this.

Yes, you are welcome to collect from our studio. Please email us to arrange.

Yes. Feel free to get in touch if you wish to use your own paper. We cannot guarantee it will be suitable but will happily test for you. The paper should be uncoated, and a test must be done prior to printing. We also need around 20% extra stock to allow for misprints. We may also be able to order specific paper for you if needed. Please get in touch to inquire. 

Wild Press is currently on hiatus from our print service & open access printing.

If you need to get in touch please email us at hello@wildpressriso.com.

Thank you!