A collection of printing F.A.Q's and accomodations in TXTbooks' studio.Updated October 8, 2018.
Index1. What The Hell Is A Risograph?2. What is a Risograph Good At?3. What is a Risograph Bad At?4. Imperfections5. Preparing your Images For Print6. Color7. Custom Color8. Binding9. Paper10. Turnaround11. Pickup12. Shipping13. For Use In Studio14. Additional Policy
PLEASE READ: A Word On Our StudioWe are a publisher first, a printer second. We will do our best to accommodate any print needs, but ultimately reserve the right to refuse jobs that do not suit our capabilities!
What The Hell Is A Risograph?A Risograph printer is more or less a cross between a copy machine and a silkscreen press. It uses liquid ink drums as spot colors to create 1-color duplications at high speeds.The Risograph is a business machine that has been repurposed by the arts community. We use it in ways it was never intended to create printed material that the machine’s original target consumer would never seek out. Arguably, riso is the punkest form of printmaking.
How does a Risograph work?1) We take your/our PDF file and send it via USB to the printer.2) The printer reads the file in terms of greyscale value.3) It burns a thermal "master," akin to a silkscreen, and wraps it around a color drum of your choosing (while simultaneously disposing of the old master). Note: we can now print as many "duplications" as we want from this "screen."4) The printer pulls a sheet of paper from the paper feed tray into the machine.5) The color drum rotates as the paper is fed through the machine, leaving a color "impression" on the sheet of paper.6) The paper shoots out the butt end of the machine and into the paper receiving tray.7) we repeat steps 1-6 for each page of each color for the entire project.
What is Risograph Good At?It's good at making a lot of the same thing very fast. It's good at making beautiful and saturated colors you can't get in other accessible forms of printmaking. It's good at heavily aestheticizing your work. It's good at feeling inherently special.
What is Risograph Bad At?It's bad at perfect representation of image (though it always looks good). It's bad at perfectly precise color registration (though it's always charming). It's bad at 100% batch consistency (though it's always close). It's bad at small-batch and individual sheet printing (though if you really want to just print one, you can always do it).
ImperfectionsThe Risograph is inherently imperfect and in our eyes it's part of the charm. Color can shift in approximation of an image [A]. Multiple colors will not align to each other perfectly[B]. Color coverage can vary across large patches of ink [C]. Paper can smudge on contact with rollers or other sheets (especially with higher ink densities) [D]. Images close to the edge of the sheet can have difficulty filling in [E]. The image can skew from front to back & ETC, ETC, ETC.
Note: Mis-registration is inherent to the riso process. You can solve mis-registration by designing your images with trapping, designing in a way that this does not matter, or just not caring.
Color Tide / Block Color Variance
Note: Caused by oversaturation of color over large patches, cannot be fixed outright, but mitigated by limiting overall opacity of the area.
Note: Caused by major blocks of color through the center of the image. Roller marks are caused on pickup in the paper tray when printing multiple colors at once. This has to do both with the absorbancy of the paper and the liquidity and density of the ink. Needle marks are caused by "peel off" from drum during printing, the drag on the color occurring as the machine tries harder to remove the paper from the drum. Both can be avoided by limiting both centrality of image and density of overall print colors. Generally if you are printing dense blocks of color, avoiding the center 2 inches are a good bet. You can also erase these with a plastic eraser in post-print production (just time-consuming).
Print Area Edge-Fading
Note: This is caused by placing your image too close to the edge of the overall print area. Usually this doesn't happen, but it can be avoided by placing images more inwards overall.
Considering ImperfectionsWhen working with Riso, factor these imperfections into both your design process and expectations with a final product. You must be willing to fall into the wind (so to speak) and embrace either the imperfections or the additional process.
Planning Your Specs For Riso PricingGenerally speaking, there are two factors that influence the price of a riso project: the amount of total colors needed and the amount of total pages needed.Thus, we can conclude that to balance length and cost, using less colors across more pages is more cost effective. Conversely, if you want a colorful project, limiting the overall page count is wise.
HERE IS A GRAPH ILLUSTRATING THE ABOVE.
(The line represents overall doability)
Preparing Your DocumentsLooking for advice on separating your images for Risograph printing? Check out our resources page for some in-depth tutorials and more specific guidance. Looking for a reference for physical examples of modes, settings, and print styles? Check out our swatch book for help.
File Prep: Short Version
• Print layers must be delivered as Greyscale PDFs• Must be accompanied by full-color reference image(s)• Multi-page projects must be delivered as "Single Page" (as opposed to "Spreads" PDFs
File Tips: Format and Delivery
• We ONLY accept .PDF files for printing.• Each unique color layer must be provided in it's own greyscale PDF.• Multi-page projects must be delivered in sequenced multi-page PDFs (For example, a 16 page pdf in greyscale for a red layer of a book).• Projects must be accompanied with full color reference PDF or JPG, otherwise print quality can't be ensured.
File Tips: Typography
• Convert all typography to outlines• Convert all "Black" color spaces to "Registration Black" for better color saturation
File Tips: Image
• Large patches of color can not be more than 80% opacity - otherwise they will jam the machine• Printing full-color saturation and full-bleed across a page is not feasible at best, impossible at worst (it sticks to the drum and is too inky).• Generally lower mid-tones wash out.
File Tips: Bleed, Trim, and Pagination.
• We ask for atleast .2 inch bleed on all files requiring cropping.• All multi-page projects must be sequenced for printing (this is called "Pagination")• If you don't want to paginate your book, send us your project as single page (NOT spreads) PDF and we can sequence it for you for a small fee.
File Tips: Designing for Riso
• Avoid Cross-gutter design when possible• Avoid narrow margins to edge of crop (generally 1/3 of an inch is good)• Avoid large color fills or reduce density ti 85%• Consider the scale of your project
Sheet Size & Printable AreaRisograph can print up to 11x17 inches (Tabloid) sheets of paper down to 8.5x11 inches (Letter) sized paper. We can't print larger or smaller, sorry! Printable area falls roughly .25 inches from each side of the overall sheet size. For example, the maximum image size for tabloid would be 10.5x16.5 inches. That said, giving half an inch is safer for quality control purposes.
Maximum Booklet size10x8 inches.
Maximum Poster Full Bleed Trim Size14.5x10.5 inches.
Our Riso colors: Yellow, Melon, Fluorescent Orange, Red, Raspberry, Fluorescent Pink, Violet, Seafoam, Green, Hunter Green, Cornflower, Blue, Copper, and Black.
Note: Colors we stock may change over time as we adjust our color spectrum. In some cases certain colors may be out of ink when you request prints. It's good to consider your colors fluid when printing riso and be open to available combos. Please email us with any questions regarding current ink availability!
Custom ColorsWant to print with a color you don't see here? For a large fee we can order it for you custom.
Binding OptionsFor small and medium sized projects (under 40 pages) we do Saddle Stapling (Magazine Style), Side Stapling (Simple Staple) and Spiral Binding (Office Report).
For longer projects we have the ability to do Perfect Binding (Paperback Novel / Hot Glue).
Paper StocksWe stock a matching Bright White Accent 70# Text Vellum and Spring Hill 67# Cover Vellum in tabloid sizes. For larger jobs we are happy to help special order paper, but additional fees will apply.
Based on past experience we do not accept paper stocks for contract jobs, but do accept paper for studio visitations after a brief approval process.We do not print on Newsprint paper as our machine can not handle it, and in many cases is too thin or floppy.
Proofs and File HandlingWe charge $25 per proof page in additional to normal master and ink rates.We charge $10 file handling fee if we have to separate your file for you.
TurnaroundWe require atleast two weeks from file delivery to final printing, not including shipping time. This has to do with scheduling conflicts and troubleshooting on our end. In cases of jobs requiring less time to resolve, a rush fee scaled against the time crunch will be instituted.
Project PickupOur Studio is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn off the Morgan L train.Studio pickup is preferred and can be arranged for any time during the week during or close to normal business hours. For a weekend pickup we'll charge more.Project DeliveryWe are happy to offer delivery in New York City with a small fee based on distance.
ShippingShipping can be arranged with a handling markup (as we have to lug it down the block to the nearest shipping center.)
For Use In StudioMZ790U 2-Color Risograph PrinterSyntron 11x17 Paper JoggerHorizon BQ-P6 Perfect BinderTriumph Ideal 15" Medium-Duty Guillotine TrimmerX-Acto 12" Light-Duty TrimmerProng-Fastener Hole-PunchMisc. StaplersSaddle Stitch StaplerLong Arm StaplerHeavy Duty StaplerTru-Bind Spiral Binder