Risograph printers

The Jan 11 issue of Wired has a small piece on Risograph printing. They describe it as ‘a cross between a photocopier and a silk-screen printer’. They sound like the Lomos of the printing press to me.

You can get them pretty cheaply on eBay. Based on the price of some of them, you may even find one on Freecycle.

The article mentions Ditto Press, a fun looking company set up by Lynsey Atkin and Ben Freeman almost exclusively producing small run jobs using this machine:

Risograph printing is a rarely used commercially, not because it is disliked, but because it is, in Lynsey’s words, a “faff”.

“It’s not an accurate science. You have to really persevere with it. It’s a huge lot of trial and error. Anybody that wanted to make quick money out of printing, this is not the way to do it. You’ve got to want to do it and you’ve got to get satisfaction out of doing it.”

(via Nothing Bad Magazine, Ditto Press – eviejeffreys.blogspot.com)

If I had some studio space, I’d totally get one of these and offer the service. It’s very appealing…


  • First set of pictures from the brilliantly named Landfill Editions (specifically their Flickr stream).
  • Second set of pictures from Ditto Press. I especially liked their chart of available colours.
  • Wired also mentions Duke Press and Black Box Press.
  • BTW, The current issue of Wired has a lovely metallic TRON front cover.
  • And the irony of posting this after a post on interactive magazines is not lost on me.

3 thoughts on “Risograph printers

  1. As I mentioned very briefly on Twitter last night, I’ve used Risographs. 140 characters isn’t enough to really talk about them though.I only ever used them for monochrome work. I imagine trying to do anything more than basic spot-colour work would be hard – I remember my colleague managing to get a spot-colour logo working but registration wasn’t that accurate (certainly not compared to CMYK). There may be models where the paper goes through more than one ink roller as it passes through the machine but, given I last used one properly in 1999, I’m well out of the loop.For monochrome stuff, it was amazing. Thinking back to it, we were printing maybe 2.5 pages a second (A4) at full speed. The quality was great – not so much on the old one that was there when I joined the department, but its replacement was insane quality. That one had the computer connection, so it wasn’t just a turbo-charged photocopier. Only problem with THAT was the memory on board could’ve done with being upped on that model, so complicated pages could sometimes go a bit wrong, and you had to remember to collate pages so as to not end up using a fresh piece of film for each individual sheet being printed (like the secretary did once).I made A6 leaflets on it – 4-up printing and a guillotine – and had 200 in about a minute. Brilliant machine.

  2. @irregularshed Thanks for writing that up. I read somewhere that the registration could be a bit of a pain, but oddly that kind of thing is actually a big part of the appeal.

  3. As I know, they are used in schools because they are very useful in printing a lot.

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