Paweł Pniewski

The amazing art of print with Risograph!

Thanks to risographs you can create an outstanding work of art. Various artists and designers use it to print their ideas on paper or publish projects for others. This method is affordable and produces very little footprint so it's very eco-friendly. Let's have a closer look at how it works.

What is Riso printing?

Riso Kagaku Corporation invented digital duplicators in the mid-1980s in Tokyo, Japan. Then it became more popular in the Netherlands and later was spread all over the world. It was meant to create ways for inexpensive publishing of prints, artist books, and zines. A digital duplicator consists of a mimeograph machine or stencil printer. Within the machine, there is a creator of a stencil that is laid onto a drum filled with ink which then spins fast, forcing the ink through the stencil onto the paper. The outcome of this process is a unique textured print that can't be copied. Since the discovery of Risographs, a large number of studios all over the world started to create prints with digital duplicators. All kinds of illustrations for cards, stationery designs, books, and other forms have been made this way.

„The outcome of this process is a unique textured print that can't be copied”

Possibilities with color are endless

What is amazing about this way of printing is the exclusivity of the spot color base. It doesn't work as an ink printer with standard options – the possibilities of using and mixing colors are endless. Every print studio has usually a unique setting with a typical and fluorescent palette. A print that is consisted of four colors will require 4 individual inks and 4 unique ink stencils created for each color to make up the final print product. With all these possibilities, risographs are very affordable. This is why many Riso studios began their activities in a living room or apartment.

Why is it so eco–friendly?

Since inks are vegetable oil-based and the process of drying doesn't require any chemicals or heat, the footprint and power consumption are very low. Riso ink dries through absorption into the uncoated paper stock. The portable drums can be moved into and out of the machine as needed. Thanks to this, there is no ink waste and no toxic chemicals or washing stations between production runs are required. You can use recycled paper for printing. This is why Riso is an environmentally friendly and sustainable way of producing art.

All the perfect imperfections

Since inks are vegetable oil-based and the process of drying doesn't require any chemicals or heat, the footprint and power consumption are very low. Riso ink dries through absorption into the uncoated paper stock. The portable drums can be moved into and out of the machine as needed. Thanks to this, there is no ink waste and no toxic chemicals or washing stations between production runs are required. You can use recycled paper for printing. This is why Riso is an environmentally friendly and sustainable way of producing art.

How to design with Riso?

Let's keep in mind that designing for print, especially Riso is very different than designing for the internet. This is why it's worth trying out some tips:

01Don't use too many colors

The general recommendation is to choose 1 to 4 ink colors per project. Others can be created by overprinting. When mixing them you can already get a ‘full color’ feel. As each ink color used is printed layer by layer - the fewer layers you print the better result there is. Also, it's important to think about designing the graphic in steps of color separation. It seems difficult at the beginning, but once you learn it gets easy and you are more aware of the possible outcome.

02Get some inspiration

Get in touch with some ready Riso projects. The best is to see them in person, cause the ink colors are difficult to be displayed on a computer monitor. It really shows its magic when you see the works with your own eyes. Get the print samples from the Riso studio.

03Don't be afraid to make some mistakes!

Get in touch with some ready Riso projects. The best is to see them in person, cause the ink colors are difficult to be displayed on a computer monitor. It really shows its magic when you see the works with your own eyes. Get the print samples from the Riso studio.

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