Why Risograph Printing?

Bridging the gap between a conventional photocopier and silkscreen printer, Risograph printing (also known as Riso) is a simple yet brilliant tool for anyone interested in high-quality quality prints on a shoestring budget.

Regarded by many illustrators and designers as a more economical alternative to silk screen printing, the finished product is a breath-taking print. For those of you familiar with silk screen printing, you will find your existing knowledge lends itself well to understanding the process of Risograph printing, which also relies on a layering technique to produce multi-coloured prints.

Environmentally friendly, quick and easy to set up, it’s not hard to see the attraction of this printing technique. Understanding the process is key to making the most of your first experience with Risograph printing and avoiding common mistakes associated with creating multi-layered Riso prints. The possibilities for your always-unique prints are endless. Each copy of your print will vary slightly from the previous. This is because each colour added to the print requires another pass through the machine. This leads to slight smudges and bleeds.

Risograph duplicators print one colour at a time, so it's important to keep the process in mind when creating your artwork.



But, Why Risograph Printing?

I elected to use Risograph printing for my print shop for a very specific reason. An internet image search will yield thousands of photographs of your search query. If you’re looking for data-rich, highly-precise literal representations of your internet search, you’ll find many to choose from! With STINKY’S RISO PRESS I wanted your images to have a different look – murky, uncertain, lossy – like a Rorschach inkblot test that would let the viewer create personal associations and narratives. Some prints appear almost painterly while with others the four-colour layering process has almost completely obscured the original image. 

If silkscreen and a photocopier had a baby, it would be a Risograph. Risograph printing functions like a photocopier, but instead of burning toner to a sheet of paper, the machine burns an image into a sheet of material called a master and stretches it around a cylindrical screen called a drum. The paper moves through the machine at high speeds, passing under the drum. A squeegee/roller system on the inside of the drum pushes the ink through the screen and master, which operates like a stencil. The result is that whatever was black on your original design prints in whatever colour of soy-based ink is in the drum. To print multiple colours, the paper has to go through the machine multiple times.

An Unpredictable Process

Embracing unpredictability is part of the fun. It’s better to work the colours by hand separately than work with the computer. Riso print looks more handcraft; the beauty of the process is that it creates small mistakes – there’s no point in trying to make it look perfect.

Riso is perfect for printing text, fine lines, textured marks or photographs - blocky, crisp details or textured and painterly marks can be easily achieved. Risograph printing has slowly but surely become my favourite method of printing just about anything.


Founder, Stinky's Riso Press

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Creao Studio, 12b Regent Street
Harrogate HG1 4BE


07714 688412

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