Skip to Main Content

Risograph Printing

Use this guide to find resources for the process of printing on a Risograph. 

What is Risograph printing?

A Risograph or "RISO" looks like a regular photocopier but is actually a duplicator. The process is also commonly referred to as digital stamp printing or digital screen printing. Risograph printing is special because of the imperfections caused by unprocessed inks and the layering of images, known as registration and overprinting.

RISO printing is ideal for duplicating posters, comic books, zines and other graphic art prints where the fidelity of the artist's intent of effect matters such as interesting textures, color mixing, and happy accidents. This means any RISO duplication is a unique instance of the original print that can be just as vibrant, creative and beautiful – and sometimes even better. 

How does it work?

The Risograph at the VRC, a model MH945OU, is a two-drum machine, meaning you can either print two ink colors at a time or create two masters and print colors separately.

There are two methods of printing artwork from the Risograph:

1) using digital files with special layer settings for each color to be printed

2) using the scanner bed to scan original artwork and manually combine color layers 

When you're ready to duplicate an artwork, the machine will create two stencils called "masters" to produce the prints. Once the masters are set, they are applied around the drums, which hold the ink tubes. Paper is then placed in the paper tray and the machine feeds the paper, adjusting the pressure automatically depending on the weight of the paper. As the paper is passed through one or both of the ink drums it is pressed by the master proof before it comes out to the delivery tray.