A 3-color print with Sunflower, Bright Red, and Blue inks.
How it works
Riso machines create a stencil (sometimes called a master), similar to a silkscreen, which is repeatedly inked and rolled over pages.
Stencils are made from rice paper, perforated with tiny holes.
Most color printing is achieved using a four-ink standard process — Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK).
With Riso, by contrast, you can choose one or several inks, from a studio’s spot colors. We are a six color studio:
Many Riso ink pigments are outside the CMYK gamut — so you can print more vibrant colors than possible with standard process inks.
There are two main paradigms for creating digital files:
Output one grayscale file for each ink color.
How-to: Create a separate layer for each ink color. Export each separately.
Simple, easy to get started. Can get unwieldy for complex designs.
Take a color original (drawing, photograph, etc) and convert it to Riso inks.
- Use an app such as Spectrolite (easiest)
- Use Photoshop, following a YouTube tutorial.
- Download a special Riso ink profile from the Color/Shift project for use in Photoshop (highest quality results)
Works great for art, photos, posters, etc, but not suitable for small text
Instantly preview Riso prints & ink colors in our online Instant Proof tool
Always export as PDF files — not JPG or PNG!
- Name files clearly, e.g. “Maria – green.pdf”
- Set type using InDesign or Illustrator when possible (vector), rather than as an image (raster)
- No crop marks or registration marks
- Do not impose zines or books.
Lighter shades in grayscale art will be screened — that is, converted into a halftone screen of smaller holes in the stencil. Therefore, you can access different tints of a color.
You can “expand” colors a little bit into their background or borders to account for mis-registration in printing.
Riso inks are semi-transparent, so inks can be printed directly on top of each other.
You can intentionally overprint multiple colors to achieve color mixes.
For best results, set your type as vectors in software such as Adobe InDesign or Illustrator.
We usually don’t recommend overprinting small type, as mis-registration of the inks can make it hard to read.
Riso offers a choice for the dots of a halftone screen. This is measured in lines-per-inch (LPI).
If you don’t tell us a specific preference in LPI, we’ll use our best judgement.
Higher LPI = finer detail.