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Risograph Printing

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

Book the Riso

There are two appointment types available: Demo and Printing.

  1. Demo appointment (30 minutes): includes a brief overview of how to use the Risograph, a printing demo, and time for your questions.
  2. Printing appointment (1 hour and 15 minutes): includes printing time for your artwork on the Risograph. Bring your prepared files, laptop, or physical artwork to the appointment. You can pick inks and paper types in advance by viewing them on this LibGuide or viewing them in person.

Appointments are available for all students! If you're interested in using the RISO, make an appointment by clicking the button below. Please note that some appointments may be unavailable due to priority booking for studio art courses. Check Reed's Calendar of Events for drop-in demos and workshops open each semester!



Risograph ink is translucent, so its final appearance depends on the color of the paper it is printed on, the layering of each ink, the saturation of color (10%-100%), and how the overlay of colors can mix and create new colors. Riso printing is a spot color printing method, meaning that it excels in using 1 to 4 inks, as opposed to trying to mix all of them in order to reproduce a wide range of colors (CMYK). 

View the inks that we have available at the VRC below:

Download Ink Swatches for Photoshop or Illustrator

1. Download the VRC Riso Ink Swatches for Photoshop or Illustrator.

2. Open your artwork in Photoshop or Illustrator. Navigate to the menu option "Window" and select the "Swatches" option.

3. Navigate to the swatches menu in the right panel. Select the menu icon click "Open Swatch Library," and select "Other Library" at the bottom of the menu.

4. Upload the "VRC Riso Inks FY 23-24.ase." Navigate to your swatches panel and scroll to the bottom to find the "VRC Riso Ink" folder.
5. Now you have a reference for how the colors will print using the VRC inks available.

REMINDER: the swatches are for visual reference, you must set your artwork to grayscale for printing on the RISO. and keep your layers visible OR export each ink color as a PDF

The Risograph prints best on uncoated paper between 20# to 80# (80gsm to 300 gsm). Riso ink prints best on uncoated paper (not glossy), because it adheres directly to the fibers of the paper. Check out the available paper options for your projects by viewing the document below.

Your files should be separated into individual black & white images for each color that is to be printed prior to your printing appointment. Whether you're printing from a digital file or scanning images on the scanner bed, your files need to be separated into pages by color and print order.

Four Core Reminders

1. Plan your layers, color selections, and print order.
2. File should be in RGB, layers should be set up in grayscale and resolution should be set to 300 dpi. All files are sent to the printer in grayscale and colors are added as they pass through the ink drum during the printing process.
3. Ask questions and find tutorials, templates, and online resources in this LibGuide.

4. Prepare files and follow the additional requirements below.

Additional Requirements

  • Max Print Area
    Risographs cannot print full-bleed designs. I recommend using the measurements below for your print area and adding 1/4” guides and trim marks around your artwork.
    • Letter (8 1/2" x 11"): Printable Area 7.5″ x 10"
    • Tabloid Size (11" x 17"): Printable Area 10" x 16"
    • A3 (11.7" x 16.5"): Printable Area 10.4" x 16"
  • Resolution
    The Risograph has a resolution of 600 dpi, but we recommend 300 dpi resolution for your files. This is because files that are larger resolution take longer to print, and you only ever need 300 dpi with the paper sizes we offer. 
  • Naming Convention
    Format Example:
    • Name_Riso colors in order of layer.pdf
    • Reed_LightLime-Red-Purple.pdf
  • Type Size
    Type size should not be below 7pt. If you plan to use two colors when printing the same text, consider misregistration and the intention of two colors (ex: will the text be readable at 7pt in two colors?). 
  • Registration & Trim
    Add registration marks to match up overlays. Add trim marks to trim your print to your desired size. 

  • Flattening Images (if using Adobe)
    When preparing your digital file, you must flatten, merge or rasterize layers before each color/layer as a PDF. Once you flatten your image, the effects that you applied in your file will become embedded as part of the artwork. This step will help you avoid effects in your images, such as jagged, blurry, or images with unintentional drop shadows.

A3 (11.7 x 16.5 in) 
Ideal for posters or large prints. 


A4 (8.5 x 11 in) 

Ideal for fliers or medium sized prints. Templates below are for layout A4 but are printed on A3. 

A5 (5.83 x 8.27 in)
Ideal for postcards or fliers. Templates below are for layout A5 but are printed on A3. 

A5 Booklet or Zine (5.83 x 8.27 in)
Templates below are for layout A5 but are printed on A3. You can duplicate the document or art boards depending on how many pages you want in your zine. If you're printing double sided, I recommend making a sample so you can plan sequence and pagination.