RISO Printing

RISO Printing


We are often asked at markets to explain what a Riso print is, so here's a little blog post all about it!

We started out in our print making journey with Peski on a Japanese hobby kit called a Gocco. It’s a mini screen printing set using postcard sized screens with good registration so you can produce multi coloured prints. It was fairly clean and inexpensive which was perfect for us at that time (living in a small rented flat).  


 monster burp gocco print

Monster Burp Gocco print

When we moved into our own place we decided to get set up with screen printing which is great but can be pretty time consuming, so we’ve been ordering in our artwork as Riso prints in recent years as well. Risograph, or Riso for short, is a digital duplicator printer machine made by the Riso Kagaku Corporation (who also produce the Gocco printing system!)(Also my friend who speaks Japanese tells me it is pronounced ree-so, as I wasn’t sure for ages!) It prints like a mechanised version of screen printing, using a stencil to print 1 colour layer at a time, allowing colour layers to be built up and mixed. 

I like birds Riso print

The Riso soy inks come in a set variety of colours and can be printed in percentages of opacity, allowing them to mix really nicely. The registration isn’t perfect on a Riso machine, which gives it a hand made aesthetic. I really love this about screen printing, when you get little slivers of pure colour peeking around the edges of the artwork.   

Toucan Tweets Riso Print and detail of Blackberry & Apple screen print


There are a number of Riso graph printer houses around the UK so you’ll probably find one near you! We recently ordered from Duplikat Press in London, and this is how they describe the Riso process in all its technical glory! 

  • Risograph is the perfect bridge between digital design and physical artwork, producing speedy prints with a tactile 'screen printed' look, using a range of vivid spot colour inks which are unique to Riso. Thousands of copies can be created from each stencil, yet each print is subtly unique due to the (charmingly!) imperfect registration between ink layers. 
  • Artwork is sent to the Riso via a computer connection or manually through the scanner bed, just like a photocopier. The machine then burns the artwork onto a roll of thermal sensitive paper and wraps this around the print drum, creating a stencil from which hundreds or thousands of prints can be made.
  • Paper is fed into the machine where it presses against the rotating drum and stencil to print the exposed image. Each colour is printed using a separate drum and must be done in layers, one on top of the other. Using little power and soy based ink, the Riso is very environmentally friendly. Inks can be used independently or layered at different opacities to make new colours, as they are semi-transparent.



If you are interested in ordering some Riso prints I would highly recommend these UK printers:

16 Tonne, Bristol

National Park Print, Windermere

Duplikat, London


Happy printing!!

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