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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 copy machine 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 print two ink colors at a time or print colors separately.

There are two methods of printing artwork from the Risograph:

1) using digital files from the guest computer or 2) using the scanner bed to scan original artwork

  • Before printing, you should select the paper and ink you would like to use for your artwork. When you're ready, place the paper in the tray, and switch out the ink color drums. 
  • When you're ready to duplicate an artwork, you'll send your artwork by using one of the methods above. Then the machine will create a stencil called a "master" to produce the prints. Once the masters are set, they are applied around the drums, which hold the ink tubes.
  • 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.