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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).
The 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.
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.
When 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 Pricing
Less colors. Less Pages. Less Materials. Less Labor. Less Money. Generally 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)
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 Area
Risograph 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 size
Maximum Poster Full Bleed Trim Size
Our Riso colors:
Yellow, Melon, Fluorescent Orange, Red, Raspberry, Fluorescent Pink, Violet, Seafoam, Green, Hunter Green, Cornflower, Blue, Copper, and Black.
Note: Colors subject to change.
Want to print with a color you don't see here? For a large fee we can order it for you custom.
For small and medium sized projects (under 40pp.) we do Saddle Stapling, Side Stapling and Spiral Binding .
For longer projects we have the ability to do Perfect Binding.
We stock a matching Bright White Accent 70# Text Vellum and Spring Hill 67# Cover Vellum in tabloid sizes. For large jobs we are happy to help special order paper, but additional fees will apply.
We do not accept paper or special order for small jobs.
Proofs and File Handling
We 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.
If you send it, we print it. We are not editors or proofreaders. We do not know your project. If you send us a PDF with any mistakes, we will not know.
For Use In Studio
MZ790U 2-Color Risograph Printer
Syntron 11x17 Paper Jogger
Horizon BQ-P6 Perfect Binder
Triumph Ideal 15" Medium-Duty Guillotine Trimmer
X-Acto 12" Light-Duty Trimmer
Saddle Stitch Stapler
Long Arm Stapler
Heavy Duty Stapler
Tru-Bind Spiral Binder