Themes/Colour: Make it spot on with risograph print

Searching for your new go-to creative technique? Look no further than risograph printing (riso) – a great way to experiment with colour, graphic pattern and illustration. Rachel introduces you to some of her favourite riso creatives.


Riso has become a popular printing method within the creative industry over the last few years. Originally designed as pieces of office equipment, the process now attracts designers, artists and illustrators. That is because riso is fairly cheap, is environmentally friendly, and it uses a range of vibrant and warm colours.

This type of printing uses a spot colour process. Unlike digital printers – which combine cyan, ma-genta, yellow, and black ink to create full colour images – risograph printers print one colour at a time.

This means each colour you print has to be registered by eye, and the more colours you want to use, the longer it takes to make! Risograph users have to be clever about what colours they use and how they can be combined to create even more options.

Below I have compiled a list of some of interesting artists, designers, illustrators and risograph print-ing presses that use the limited riso colour palette in different ways.

RISOTTO: Printing press and design studio

Credit: ‘Print Simulator’, RISOTTO, 2018. RISOTTO are Scotland’s leading risograph print specialists. They are known for their bold and vibrant patterns that make use of translucent riso inks, combining them to create more colours and add depth to the designs.

Head over to their website and choose ‘RISO ROOM’ to explore a world of tips, inspiration and risograph resources. Pick ‘RISOTTO SHOP’ to browse their own creative designs.

You can also find out about their upcoming series of workshops, RISOTTO’S RISO ROOM at The Lighthouse, there too!

Risolve: Printing press

Credit: ‘Colour Profile test’, Risolve, 2018. Risolve is a risograph print house and design studio based in Philadelphia, US. They have been printing these colour chart test sheets (above) as part of an upcoming project with Color Library. Color Library produce colour profiles for risograph and offset printing, and this publication will show-case what effects and colours can be produced when using them.

More of Risolve’s colour tests and print work can be found on their Instagram and website

Visit Color Library’s website

O.OO: Design

Credit: ‘360° 365 days. 2017 calendar’, O.OO, 2017. Risograph and design studio O.OO based in Taipei, Taiwan have a great selection of riso projects. Their project 360° 365 days. 2017 calendar is particularly interesting; using the circle as a starting point, different shapes emerge throughout the calendar as different points on the circumference are connected. Riso printing these designs allows the two shapes to overlap, combine and create a range of new secondary colours.

Explore more of O.OO’s work on their website and Instagram

Sigrid Calon: Visual arts


Credit: Sigrid Calon: ‘TO THE EXTEND OF / | & -, 2013’, De Monsterkamer.Dutch visual artist Sigrid Calon has produced work using many different media, but her risograph prints exploit the vibrancy of the riso inks. In 2012 she produced a risograph printed book that ex-plored her fascination with embroidery grids which you can see in the video above. Following a set of rules, and using only eight risograph colours, she produced 120 unique designs.

Take a look at Sigrid’s work on Instagram or her website where you’ll see the influence of riso in her larger format surface designs for wallpaper and more.

Liam Cobb: Comics, illustration

Credit: ‘The Fever Closing’, Liam Cobb, 2016. London based comic artist and illustrator Liam Cobb uses risograph printing to produce his books and comics, such as ‘The Fever Closing’ (shown above). He uses a limited range of riso colours per story, and combines them beautifully to create surreal new worlds. His work is initially hand drawn, then worked on digitally which helps create the final result.

Find more of Liam’s comics over on his website

Ryan Cecil Smith: Comics, zines and more

Credit: ‘Riso Color Sciences Multipack’, Ryan Cecil Smith, 2016. Ryan Cecil Smith is a cartoonist based in Los Angeles, USA who creates beautiful comics and zines. He is also the creator of ‘Riso Color Sciences Multipack’ (above) which explains his process for taking hand-drawn and hand-coloured drawings and turning them into risograph prints. Initially designed as a reference for personal use, he hopes others can also benefit from his experience and put it to use in their own risograph prints and experiments.

Explore more of Ryan’s work on Tumblr and Instagram
Find out more about the Risograph Color Sciences Multipack

Rachel is a freelance designer, production assistant and workshop leader.
Explore more of her work on Instagram and website
Looking for more inspiration?

Find more risograph printing presses listed on

Check out the #risograph tag on Instagram which is full of interesting prints and works by illustra-tors, designers, artists, and more.
Interested in graphic design and illustration?

BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media

BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design