Design for Riso

Risograph Printing has a few quirks or limitations so please
read this page BEFORE you get too involved in designing.
If in doubt, please email or call us, or send us samples pages.

Maximum printable area: 406mm by 283mm
Riso cannot print to the page edge, and prints poorly in the 5mm near all 4 A3 page edges, so best to leave at least 7mm blank margins. 10mm margins look nice – we call this ‘thumb-room’.

Anticipate mis-registration – the exact position of one colour will not reliably line up with the other colour(s). They will ‘miss’ by 1-2mm, unavoidably.
So when designing each page, bear this in mind. In some cases misregistration can look quirky / fun, but often it can look weird, wrong or even nauseating! E.g.: blue outline on a green hand won’t work, but a green outline around a light green hand will work. Black text on a green box works fine because the exact position of the text doesn’t really matter. If you plan to have blue text inside a red outline box please keep at least 5mm of space between the text and the box – then they won’t ever touch – or just make them both the same colour and problem avoided.

This poster shows misregistration – the orange ink misses the outline of the
black tree on the left. Looks quite good though!

We have 6 specific inks – their approximate pantone numbers are shown below. Black and dark blue are best for text. Red and green are good for some text. Orange and fluorescent pink are the lightest colours so not great for small text. We cannot ‘make’ other colours, sorry.

Purple and brown? Because Riso inks are a bit translucent, overlapping them can create some nice purples and browns.

Avoid large blocks of dark tone – often goes blotchy. But more importantly it often causes the paper to stick to the ink drum causing jams and much stress! This is especially important on thinner paper like the ‘hummus’ coloured paper which is just 80gsm. Our nice white paper is 100gsm. If you need big blocks of colour, go for less than 70%.

Avoid small or thin white text. It often doesn’t work. Large and / or bold white text does work, often.

Risograph love bold images with strong contrast  (including photos) – please avoid subtle light tones as these will probably just go to white.

Artwork needs to be greyscale and each colour will need a separate PDF / high-res JPG as they are printed one after the other (with a day to dry the ink inbetween).

Misregistration can look wrong, or might created an interesting ‘3-D’ effect

Print resolution:  ideally 600dpi (dots per inch) but 300dpi works fine and looks almost as good.
Images taken off the web are often “low-rez” and will often look fuzzy, blocky or blurry if printed. Web-images are designed to load fast and therefore are often very low in quality / resolution – sometimes just 72 or 96dpi.

Booklets need to have a total number of pages that is a multiple of 4. I.E.: 12, 16, 20, 24, etc. Each piece of paper has 4 ‘pages’, two on each side of the spine. Once the booklet is fully designed, the pages will need to be separated and re-arranged into “printer’s pairs”. I.E.: back page next to front page, then inside front cover next to inside back cover, etc. If you have not done this before, please let us help you get it right.
If your booklet is A5 then pairs of pages will also need to be stacked in ‘pairs of spreads’ because we print on A3 sheets and then guillotine to A4 afters. We can help with this, using a hand drawn page-plan.
And if you are printing 2 colour, then each page will also need a separate file for each colour. For this reason, and cos of misregistration, 1-colour prinitng is the easiest and quickest; and2-col printing is a whole lot less hassle than 3-col printing!

Please send us SAMPLES!

We’d love to see your designs early on to ensure you have understood the requirements listed above. Email us a PDF or JPG any time and we will respond very soon. DOC or DOCX files are very unreliable – the fonts and formatting may change between your computer and ours – so please do not send us these. Instead export or save your design as a ‘print-quality’ PDF, oopen it and check its correct, and send us that.

And if you have other questions, please ask

We are both huge fans of Risography and are really keen on getting more folks to use it.  Its very good value AND very eco-friendly.

We look forward to making great risograph art with you.