Risograph Printing

Risograph is an environmentally friendly printing method which works in a similar manner to screen printing but in a machine that could be mistaken as a photocopier. An original image is burnt onto a master, that master is then wrapped around a drum. That drum then rotates at a high speed passing ink through the master and onto paper to create a print. Risograph printers were originally purposed as a means of producing high quantities of prints at low costs, primarily used in churches and schools. However, their spot colour printing method means that you can create beautifully vibrant imagery with the hand-made, tactile feel of a screen print but in larger, more affordable quantities.

Our Services

We offer a wide range of Risograph printing services. From ‘small’ projects like a run of business cards to ‘big’ projects like a multiple coloured A3 perfect bound book. We have years of experience working with various Risograph machines and over time have perfected what we’re able to do with the machine. Such as emulating CMYK printing with the machine and by getting the most out of each colour through blending and understanding how the inks work with one another. We also understand that it can be a daunting prospect if you’re new to Risograph printing so pride ourselves on being able to help you all the way through the production of your project.

Our Colours

As with screen printing, each colour on a Risograph print requires a separate master. The inks aren’t fully opaque however, meaning you can blend colours with one another to create new colours. Unlike screen printing where you can mix your own colours Risograph printers use special enviromentally friendly soy-based inks produced in specific spot colours. We currently stock 7 colours; Black, Bright Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Fluorescent Pink and Teal. You can view an example of how colours can overlap and work with one another, the colour's pantone references, as well as some scanned examples of the printed colours here.

Printing Guidelines

Risograph printing can be a complicated process especially in larger projects like zines and books. Here are some useful tips as to how best create and set up your artwork with risograph printing in mind. Don’t hesitate to send us an email at hello@friendsinthedungeon.com if you’re stuck on any aspect of setting up your artwork for print.


As Risograph only prints one colour at a time your artwork must be separated into multiple files for each different ink colour you want to print. These files must be grayscale PDFs or JPEGs of your artwork. 50% black will correlate to 50% of whatever colour ink you’re using. It’s really handy for you to include a proof of your artwork along with your files, that we can see exactly how you’re envisioning the print to look. On larger projects it can also be necessary to send the original artwork files should adjustments need to be made.

Type and Effects

When saving your image as a PDF try and maintain the text as a text file. The printer can read this and print the text more sharply for clarity. Beyond that all images should be flattened. The printer doesn’t like effects in InDesign or Photoshop and sometimes can’t read them properly leading to an incorrect print. Try to avoid using type below 6pt as the printer can struggle to read it, if you’re using whiteout text (in any colour) avoid using type below 7pt text as this is even harder for the printer to read and printer in a high definition.

Risograph Quirks

Part of the Risograph’s charm is it’s cantankerous nature. Multiple colour layers can lead to roller marks as well as other small marks like ones left by the pick off needle as the machine takes the paper off of the drum after a print. Avoid using large areas of block colour and try to avoid using more than 85% black where possible as this can cause the paper to get stuck to the drum and jam. A Risograph printer is not perfect like a laser printer or an inkjet and as such variations and small imperfections can occur and should be considered.


Another important aspect of the Risograph to bear in mind when designing your artwork is it’s registration. Registration will not always be perfect when printing artwork with multiple colours. Each print can differ from one another as well, so multiple prints within one run may not all look identical. Trapping (or overlapping layers) can help to minimize any misregistration in an image so include it where needed.

Bleeds and Print Sizing

When printing a full bleed image please include at least a 5 mm margin of overlap to allow for trimming. The Risograph itself cannot print full bleed. On an A3 print there will be a 5mm border meaning the maximum printable are is 287 x 410 mm. Should you want to produce a full bleed A3 print however, we are always able to cut down the print to be full bleed.


We primarily stock two different weights of Munken paper; 120gsm, primarily used in books and leaflets and 240gsm, used for heavyweight prints and covers. If you have your own particular paper you’d like to use however, we’re more than happy to use it. Please bear in mind however that we can only print on uncoated stock between 60 and 240gsm.