A Risograph machine is a stencil based digital duplicator, which is incredibly energy efficient because it does not use heat and very little electricity. Unlike laser or ink jet printers it prints one colour at a time by passing ink through a ‘master’ which is attached to an ink drum.

We have a twin drum machine, making it very quick and easy to print two colour designs. It can be printed from a digital PDF, or directly from the bed of the machine, like a photocopier. 


  • The machine has interchangeable colour drums and inks, which allows for printing many different colours in one print job. Risograph printers use inks that are made from vegetable soy oil or rice based ink, making it a sustainable printing process. Riso inks are slightly transparent, so a print’s appearance will also depends on the color of the paper they are printed on. Colours can also be overprinted to create new tones and variations.

  • Black

    RGB (0,0,0)
    CMYK (0,0,0,100)

  • Medium Blue

    PANTONE 286 U
    RGB (50,85,164)
    CMYK (87,59,0,0)

  • Aqua Blue

    PANTONE 637 U
    RGB (94,200,229)
    CMYK (49,0,11,0)

  • Violet

    PANTONE 265 U
    RGB (157,122,210)
    CMYK (40,51,0,0)

  • Yellow

    RGB (255,232,0) 
    CMYK (0,9,100,0)

  • Sunflower

    PANTONE 116 U
    RGB (255,181,17)
    CMYK (0,29,93,0)

  • Orange

    PANTONE 021 U
    RGB (255,108,47)
    CMYK (0,58,82,0)

  • Fluorescent Orange  

    PANTONE 805 U
    RGB (255,116,119)
    CMYK (0,55,53,0)

  • Fluorescent Pink

    PANTONE 806 U
    RGB (255,72,176)
    CMYK (0,72,31,0)

  • Bright Red

    PANTONE 185 U
    RGB (241,80,96)
    CMYK (0,67,60,5)

  • Green

    PANTONE 354 U
    RGB (0,169,92)
    CMYK (73,0,81,0)

  • Light Teal

    PANTONE 320 U
    RGB (0,157,165)
    CMYK (93,0,36,0)

  • Hunter Green

    PANTONE 342 U
    RGB (64,112,96)
    CMYK (96,07,80,33)

  • Light Grey

    PANTONE 424 U
    RGB (136,137,138)
    CMYK (25,17,15,44)

  • Brown

    PANTONE 7526 U
    RGB (146,95,82)
    CMYK (18,62,84,23)

  • Flat Gold

    PANTONE 1245 U
    RGB (187,139,65)
    CMYK (6,26,97,15)

  • Metallic Gold

    PANTONE 872 U
    RGB (172,147,110)
    CMYK (22,33,68,8)


Making your files for Risograph printing is a lot like preparing to screen print. You will need to make a file for each colour you would like to print with. These files are what we call separations, which you can think of like stencils. Seprations for Risograph can be very simple - for example, you might want a header or title in one colour, and some text in another, and so the header and body text would each need to be in their own document. Or they can be very complex, making use of colour blending across layers, or intricate arrangements of shapes, lines, text, photographs and so on.

If you’re new to risograph, we highly recommend having a read of Team Trident Press’s Guide to Risography which is free to read online. For studio members, we have a couple of copies alongside other resources to help learn new things about using the risograph.

We can help with file set up and colour separations, it’s what we do, however this may incur an extra charge.

Print files

PDF is best! All of our jobs are printed directly from a computer through a specific driver for the Riso MZ.

PDF files must be BLACK AND WHITE (or greyscale) and hi-resolution: 300dpi at least.

Basic tips!

Set all text for printing with Risograph to registration black so that it prints legibly.

The machine does not deal well with large areas of flat colour, so avoid this when making your artwork. You can also play with opacities if you have some areas of flat colour and want a smooth finish.

Low contrast images may not come out very well, so take care when preparing photographs, for example.

Technical details

You will need to prepare ONE FILE PER COLOUR. It is important to include the colour you intend for each layer in the file name when sending it to us to print. For example:


For Risograph publications, we require one single page PDF per colour of your book or booklet.

Also, if you are printing in more that one colour send us a low resolution mock up image of your design that we can use as a reference.

We require 5mm bleed on full bleed designs and remember to add crop marks if we will be trimming something to size for you.

Risograph machines cannot print all the way to the edge of the paper so please take into account an 8mm border all the way around A3 artworks. Do not set up any text or images in this border, if you do, you may lose some of your design!

The total printable area is: 281mm wide x 404mm high