Our Process - Risograph Printing

Here at Petra Boase, the Risograph machine is such an integral part of our business delights and challenges us in equal measures! 

For those curious, here’s a little dive into what it’s all about… 

Designed in the mid 80s in Tokyo, Japan, as an economical, high speed, high volume printer, the machine uses eco-friendly and non-toxic soy-based inks to create vibrant prints and gives a wonderfully hand-printed, tactile finish. It is a cold printing process, using little energy making it an environmentally conscious and sustainable print choice.

The machine itself is certainly no beauty, but the magic that comes out is what it’s all about. 

Without getting too technical, you can think of a Riso as essentially a cross between a screen printer and a photocopier... It works by receiving a greyscale artwork and transforming it into a ‘Master’ (a type of stencil) which it then wraps around a corresponding ink drum. Coloured Ink is then pushed through the ‘master’ and out onto the paper that is fed under the drum at high speed! 


Our machine is a dual printer meaning two colours can be printed at once.

As with any printing process, it’s a puzzle. With Riso printing, the artwork is created in layers as each colour is printed separately so part of the joy is in figuring out the puzzle and experimenting.

The real fun then begins when you then print over the first print and depending on your artwork, colours merge and form new combinations as seen here in our print colour charts. 

The creative opportunities with colour are endless! 

Despite being a digital printer, the machine and the process certainly does not guarantee perfection. It can be inaccurate and unpredictable - which we love! 

We like to think of these as perfect imperfections which essentially make each card and print we produce completely unique and one-off. 

The other joy of printing this way in the studio is that we have full control of our stock levels which helps us avoid unnecessary waste. Happy cards, happier planet! 

Click here to find out more about the making of our cards.