What is Riso?

Risograph printing was originally designed for high-volume printing in places like offices, schools & political parties but has more recently been adopted by creatives & designers because of its unique aesthetic, unrivalled speed & affordability. It uses soy-based inks, which are non-toxic, environmentally friendly inks though can take longer to dry.

A Risograph printer is technically a ‘stencil duplicator’. In a process similar to screen-printing, the printer creates a stencil that wraps around a cylindrical ink-filled drum. This drum then spins at high-speed transferring it’s impression onto paper pulled through the machine on a series of rollers. Most Riso machines only print one colour at a time; for multiple colour prints the ink drum is swapped over & the paper fed back through.

Riso printing is a great method for producing publications, artist prints, invites, leaflets, posters & cards. Two Press is always interested in working out how the Risograph could enhance a project.


We currently stock nine colours: black, blue, red, yellow, teal, orange, burgundy, fluro pink and metallic gold. The inks are not 100% opaque so are easily blended to make new colours in varying opacities.

Risograph printers use specific spot colours so it is possible to print colours that would be unachievable on digital printers, which use CMYK. Riso do not make cyan or magenta ink but it is possible to imitate the CMYK print process by using the colours available. Yellow & black stay the same & adding a pink or red & blue gives a distinctive full colour effect.

We can provide additional printed colour samples. Please be aware that colour results vary according to paper stock used.


As Risography was not originally intended for multiple colour prints, registration will likely not be perfect. Trapping (overlapping colours) will help. When producing prints with multiple layers of colour marks can be left on the print by the paper feed wheel, particularly on double-sided prints. These are easily rubbed out with an eraser. Print any excessively large blocks of colour at a reduced opacity.

The machine will struggle to accurately reproduce type smaller than 6pt & we would recommend sticking to 8pt and above. Avoid setting type in Photoshop as it will cause pixilation.

When multiple sheets are folded & bound each page is a fraction further from the bound edge & when trimmed more paper is removed from the centre than the top & bottom. It’s much less noticeable with fewer sheets & lighter paper but can be critical if overlooked in larger runs.

File Set-Up

Providing proofs for your artwork is extremely helpful & direct us as to how you expect your project to look. PDFs are good for this.

To keep text & line art as vectors when exporting artwork do not rasterize. All type
& solid shapes should be set to RGB BLACK
(R:0 G:0 B:0).

Please supply artwork as individual grayscale PDFs for each print colour. The machine will register different shades of black & the output will reflect this. Preferably artwork will include any necessary bleed, crop & registration marks. A 4mm bleed is required on anything that will need to be trimmed to size (e.g. flyers). As we have our own templates for most basic jobs, such as business cards, we are happy to help with this.


We can facilitate most types of finishing for your project: binding, foiling, embossing etc. We do some of these in-house & also work with external finishers to complete projects in the best way we can. Get in touch to find out more about what’s possible.

If you’re still unsure about any of the Risograph printing process, just give us a shout & check out our website for further examples.