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Techniques: Create a two colour risograph print

a risograph print displaying multiple coloured printing cylinders
  • Written byRachel Littlewood
  • Published date 23 March 2018
a risograph print displaying multiple coloured printing cylinders
Rachel Littlewood.Screenshot from How to Risograph print video. Animated film: Rachel Littlewood. UAL.
Print-making is so hot right now. Techniques like lino cut, mono printing and screen printing have been rediscovered by a new generation of creatives.

But it’s risograph (riso) printing that has really captured the imagination of today’s young graphic designers and illustrators.

Some of the most stunning work has been created by way of a two-colour riso print. Rachel introduces us to this technique in the video:

Create a two colour risograph print

Animated film: Rachel Littlewood.

Risographs are digital duplicators originally made by the Riso Kagaku Corp but it has become a more common term for a printing technique (riso) and the materials made using this process. Rachel’s video guides you through turning your black and white or greyscale drawings, illustrations or designs into vibrant riso prints. This ‘how to’ is for an EZ570, a model of risograph printer, but you’ll find that many machines operate in a similar way.

The technique requires you to make ‘stencils’ called ‘masters’. But don’t worry, unlike screen printing you don’t need to cut these out. Once you’ve got your designs the risograph printer does all the hard work for you.

When making your final riso prints a top tip from Rachel is to use un-coated paper i.e. paper that does not have a glossy coating. This will allow the riso ink to absorb into the paper.

With access to a riso printer you can produce anything from band posters to greetings cards, flyers, stationery, zines and more. And this is where Rachel’s broad suggestion on paper weight – 80-240gsm (grams per square metre) comes in. Printer paper is usually 80gsm whereas 300gsm paper is used for greetings cards. Choose the paper that fits the purpose of your design.

Many designers and illustrators like Rachel have set up shop both on and offline selling limited runs of their work, or taken on commercial projects for others. So what are you waiting for? Find yourself a riso printer get experimenting.
Looking for more inspiration?

Read our related posts below including Rachel’s Themes/Colour article which showcases a range of riso masters from across the globe.

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