Custom Risograph Printing For Artists & Designers

Thank you for your interest in custom risograph printing! Please note I'm currently not accepting new custom printing jobs due to being quite busy with other parts of my business! You can still learn more about risograph printing below.

Riso Ink Palette

  • Plum

    2603 U

  • Federal Blue

    288 U

  • Teal

    321 U

  • Seafoam

    570 U

  • Sunflower Yellow

    116 U

  • Fluorescent Orange

    805 U

  • Bright Red



  • Light Mauve

    7430 U

  • Black


  • Metallic Gold

    872 U
    *Specialty pricing

Get the BPC Adobe Swatch Palette

  • Ink Color Sampler Chart
  • Ink Color Sampler Chart
Regular price
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Are you planning a project to print risograph? Snag one of these handy color charts to decide on your ink choices! Perfect for artists and designers who want to spec out colors for their projects or even just riso-admirers collecting them all.

Each color swatch shows a sample at full density, 80%, 60% 40% and 20% so you can see how each one performs at different percentages. The lighter you go, the more grain you will notice.

Bromstad Printing Co. currently stocks 10 vibrant ink colors. Learn more about custom printing here.

What is risograph printing?

Risograph printing is sometimes called "digital screen printing" and works based on the same stencil concept as traditional screen printing.

Although it may look like a photocopier from the outside, a risograph machine does not require heat or toner, instead using rice paper stencils and soy-based inks to create its unmistakable grainy, slightly misregistered prints on smooth, uncoated papers.

Risograph machines were invented in the 80's as a cost-effective, high volume printing solution for places like offices, schools, and churches.

More recently, artists and designers have adopted risograph printing for the charming analog feel of the prints. Each color ink requires its own dedicated ink drum, which means every risograph studio will have its own curated palette of inks to print with.

BPC prints on a two-drum model machine, meaning that for every two additional colors in the print, the paper had to pass through the machine another time.

It's nearly impossible to perfectly register each ink layer because of slight shifting throughout the printing process, but the imperfections between prints becomes what makes them unique. Risograph printing has an inimitable vibrancy and immediacy that can't be captured by traditional, four-color commercial printing processes.

How does risograph printing work?

  • Making the stencil

    Inside the machine are two ink drums each with an ink cartridge inside and a screen wrapped around the outside. When a job is sent to print, the machine burns the design into a rice paper stencil with thousands of tiny holes. This stencil is then wrapped around the screen on the outside of each drum.

  • Printing the image

    Small adjustments can be made to the registration of each color, but oftentimes things still shift around a little. Paper feeds into the machine from the left, passing under the rotating ink drums. In this motion, rollers inside the drum press ink through the screen and rice paper stencils and onto the paper.

  • Finishing

    The printed page continues to move through the machine and is ejected into a tray on the right side. Voila! Now the ink will need to dry down for about 24 hours before handling. Nevertheless riso ink never completely dries and can offset onto your fingertips if the ink is heavy enough, much like a newspaper.


Why choose risograph?

  • Unique

    Using strictly spot colors, the vibrancy of risograph ink is unmatched. Unpredictable misregistrations lend an authentic feel to the inimitably grainy prints. You never know quite how it will turn out but you know it will delight.

  • Affordable

    For special projects like wedding invitations, letterpress printing — beautiful and tactile as it is — can quickly balloon out of budget at higher quantities. But quantity is where risograph printing excells! Cost per piece drops dramatically when you print over 100 copies.

  • Fun

    Anyone who prints with a risograph machine will tell you, it's just kind of FUN! Because of the quirks inherent to the medium, there is a playful, loose quality to a risograph print that can't be replicated with staid commercial printing methods.

Riso Design Considerations

  • Paper Size

    11"x17" (ledger) is the largest size of paper we can print on, but we can also trim down to smaller sizes. The maximum image area we can safely print on ledger size paper is 10.5"x16.5", which will give a 1/4" border all around the sheet. Need bleed? We will need to trim down to 10.25"x16.25".

  • Roller Marks

    When printing more than two colors, the same sheet is run through the machine again. If there is a lot of ink already on the center of the page, the rollers that feed the paper through can pick up this ink and leave track marks down the page. Track marks can be minimized on our end with careful print planning and adequate dry-time between ink layers, but be mindful of this possibility when designing and avoid heavy ink coverage in the center 1" of the sheet.

  • Ink Density

    Risograph printing uses rice paper stencils that have thousands of tiny holes burned to allow ink through. More holes means more ink, and thus the perception of a darker color. But if too much ink is printed over too big an area, the paper can stick to the drum and cause a jam. We can avoid this without drastically altering the look of the final artwork by taking the full ink density down from 100% to about 90%. Slightly fewer holes with ink passing through means less ink to stick to the drum.

  • Separations & Spot Colors

    Risograph printing uses spot inks as opposed to RGB or CMYK process. Artwork should be created with spot color separations in mind as you would for silkscreen printing. This means for each color in your art, you should provide a grayscale image, where 100% black indicates maximum ink, and 0% (or white) indicates no ink coverage. Confused? Don't worry, we can help make separations from your artwork for a small fee.

  • Trapping

    Trapping is when one ink color slightly overlaps another ink color to hide misregistration between inks. Risograph registration is tricky, so if there is no trapping, a sliver of paper may show between two colors where the layers are not quite lined up. Adding trapping to an image will avoid those little slivers of paper white from showing. This is especially important with thin linework. However, sometimes you may want to emphasize the misregistration, in which case, forget about trapping!

  • Layering Inks

    Risograph inks are slightly transparent, so by layering two or more on top of each other, you can create more color variety.

    Seafoam + Sunflower Yellow = Bright Green.

    Sunflower Yellow + Bright Red = Orange.

    Ask about other combinations.

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