The Risograph is a duplicator manufactured by Riso Kagaku Corporation in Japan. Risographs are often referred to as an intersection of screen printing, photocopying, and offset printing. Images are produced with a stencil (referred to as a master) wrapped around a cylinder coated in ink (referred to as a drum).
The drum rolls over paper fed through the machine, creating an impression. Each drum corresponds with a color of ink, so one color is laid down at a time. Every subsequent color means a new master, and new impressions.
Risograph printers were designed and released in Japan in the 1980s as a way to print efficiently and economically. Still used by small to mid-size organizations, artists and designers have adopted riso printing for its unique, vibrant and paint-like aesthetic. Speedy, efficient and eco-friendly, risograph printers employ a process similar to screen-printing with stencils and layers of ink.
Potato Bread Press has been in operation since 2018. We do almost all of our printing with a Risograph SF5450.
︎ Fluorescent Pink
Paper: We typically print all of our projects on 11x17" paper with a maximum printable area of 10.5x16.5". We are happy to cut down your project to any size from there. Our Risograph reliably accepts paper weights between 50# text and 80# cover. We have certain types of affordable paper we like, but are happy to try out new ones!
Some of our favorite papers are milled by French, Mohawk, and Domtar. When looking for paper, keep in mind Risograph ink primarily dries by absorption, so paper must be uncoated. The papers that typically perform best are fibrous with a slight tooth (e.g. vellum finish).
Please provide high resolution (300-600 dpi) grayscale PDFs - one for each color of your project. The Riso will convert the gray values to halftones, so no need to do that ahead of time. If your project is full-bleed, include at least an 1/8 inch bleed area either embedded in the file or otherwise indicated. For books and booklets, provide your project in reading order.
We are happy to help you prepare your files at any stage for printing at an hourly rate.
Risograph printing is, by default, a collaboration between artist, printer, and the machine itself. There is no such thing as "perfectly perfect" print. The imperfect nature is part of makes Risograph printing unique among other forms of duplication.
Due to the quirks of Riso, avoid large areas of solid color (they should be at max 50% opacity). Be sure to send us a full color JPEG or PDF as a reference. If attempting to print large blocks for solid ink, coverage might vary slightly, and there may be differences in gradation. Include trapping in your separations if you are working with more than two colors.
**Please send us your work in PDF or PNG (High-res - 300-600 DPI), and Illustrator (package), PSD, Indesign (Package). Images must be grayscale and 300dpi; no effects and no transparency.
Fonts cannot be smaller than 7pt and lines .5pt minimum.**
Request A Quote:
Send us an email with your concept, desired colors, and # of copies.
We will get back to you as soon as we can!
While we have no minimum number of prints, Risograph printing becomes economical in volume. Making a new master is the most resource intensive part of printing, while subsequent impressions are relatively cheap. It is often the case that the difference in price of us printing one print and fifty prints is small.
Running a test print or a proof is difficult because masters can’t be reused. For smaller scale projects, we can do a test print for an additional fee, and can proof a single page for larger book projects.
The biggest factors in determining a price are the dimensions of the project (for instance, can we print 1, 2, or 4 pages or prints on an 11x17" sheet?) and the number of colors. We can quote you for different variations - just ask.
If you feel comfortable providing us with a budget, we can help you design the project to work within your budget.