Riso or risography is a durable stencil printing technique1. Although at first glance the machine looks more like a copier than an old-fashioned mimeograph machine, the printing process of this digital duplicator is very similar.

Like screen printing, risography is a technique where seperate layers of colour are printed by pushing ink through a mesh. The result is also reminiscent of screen printing in its look and feel. But with this technique you do not make a separate silk screen for each layer, but a stencil, a so-called master, through which the ink is pressed. The riso inks, which are based on vegetable soy or rice oil, are semi-transparent, which results in an endless array of possible colour shades and blending effects.

Each colour has its own interchangeable drum and the colours are, as mentioned before, printed separately, layer upon layer. In theory, when using the correct settings, those layers should fit neatly on top of each other. But every riso machine and every drum has its own whims, deviations and sensitivities that regularly cause unexpected and sometimes unwanted effects. But it is also precisely these small imperfections, in combination with the intense colour options, that give the riso prints their charme and individual character.

We have become completely captivated by this technique and purchasing our own riso machine is one of the best decisions we made as designers.

1 Riso is a brand name. Digital duplicator is actually a better term, or at least more neutral. But apart from the fact that we actually print on a Riso machine, the words risography and riso print are so well established and even ‘verbalised’ into riso printing, that these are the terms we use the most ourselves.

See our riso prints

Riso prints in our Etsy webshop

Etsy is an online marketplace with mostly handmade and vintage products. They provide a platform where people can sell their own products. We can make use of their website with all payment options, a large community and a wide audience for our products. But we have the stock, do the shipment and the customer contact. This means that if you buy VrijFormaat riso prints through Etsy, you are actually ordering directly from us.