File setup

Files need to be set up as a greyscale or spot coloured pdfs. To learn more about how to do colour separations, please check out the video tutorials produced by Risolve Studio.

Maximum Printable Size: 13.5″x8.25″

Maximum Paper Size: 11″x17″

Resolution: Min. 300 dpi, 600 dpi for best results

Bleed requirements: 0.25″ (Bleed must fit within the printable area)

File Type: For posters and postcards, please send high-resolution pdf, ai, or psd files. For publications, send high-resolution, spot-coloured pdfs without crop marks, exported as pages, not spreads.

What is a Risograph?

sf 5130 riso machine

Risograph duplicators work like photocopiers but use a process that is similar to silkscreening. Riso uses real ink, much like offset printing, instead of toner like inkjet and laser printing. It can only print on uncoated paper, otherwise the ink won’t dry and adhere. Riso inks are translucent, allowing them to be layered to produce ranges of colours, much like offset printing and silk screening.

The machine makes tiny holes through a fibre-based master using thermal plates. The master is adhered to the drum, which contains the ink. The ink is then pushed through the holes in the master and rolled onto the paper.

How it works:


Imperfections are part of the printing process, especially when using more than one colour. This is due to the fact that the paper is fed again through the machine for each colour layer. The charm of Riso is the way the ink sits on the paper and how the registrations are never perfectly aligned.

Roller marks and smudging happens when prints are fed into the machine again. As the ink never fully dries, these marks and smudging could happen no matter how long you dry it.


Lines, shapes, and text work really well with Riso. The machine is able to read vector files and differentiate them from images, resulting in very crisp and clean lines. Non-vector images also come out well, as this machine can print 300x600dpi.

Photos/CYMK separation

You can experiment with photographic images by simulating the “CMYK” colours with other colour combinations to replace the CMYK. A basic match at our studio to the traditional CMYK is mint, fluorescent pink, yellow, and black. Similar to photographic reproductions in silkscreen,  you will get rich textures and experimental colour layers.


The machine comes with a scan bed with robust image controls such as settings specific for photos and line documents, density, opacity, and size adjustments. If you would like to do traditional copy/scan zine process, please let us know.

Example of files you send for 4-colour print in grayscale:

final grayscale files

What it will print as with corresponding ink:

files when printed

Final result:

final print