Riso Printing

Printing Guidelines For Riso Printing Appointments:

Before your printing appointment, please ensure that your file meets the following specifications to ensure successful printing. To schedule an appointment please click here. All appointments require scheduling 24 hours in advance. 

Program we print from: Photoshop CC

File Types accepted: PSD or TIFF 

Colormode: Grayscale

DPI/PPI: 600 recommended.  Maximum DPI for the riso printer is 600. 

Margins: At least  ¼” (6.35mm) margins on all edges of your design. 1” (25.4mm) margins are recommended. 

Layers: All color layers must be separated as individual Photoshop layers or TIFF files labeled with the intended color. 


The Risograph prints one color at a time. Therefore, your final print files should be separated into individual grayscale images for each color to be printed, similar to preparing files for screen printing. In each color layer, 100% black will print as 100% of the designated color, while 90% black will print as 90%, and so on. If your artwork features multiple colors, it is necessary to separate the colors as layers in Photoshop or as individual files. Ensure your layers are saved as grayscale images and labeled with the intended color.

While it's possible to create files using color, simply converting them to grayscale may not yield the desired result. For instance, converting yellow to grayscale may result in a light gray. If you want a vibrant yellow, those parts of your files should appear black when submitted for printing to ensure a solid color.


Leading Edge: 

Avoid heavy ink usage on the leading edge if you are planning on making a double-sided print. Dense ink in this area, from the first pass, can create extra smudging when the paper is flipped over. However, smudging can often be cleaned up through erasure.


Full Bleed Printing:   Attempting to print full bleed on the Riso is not recommended as it can lead to jamming of the Riso printer. For a full image, we suggest using a larger paper size, if available, and then trimming off any excess paper.


CMYK/RGB Printing: 

Although the Riso printer was not designed for CMYK and RGB images, it can still reproduce them. For example, for CMYK printing, since Magenta and Cyan inks aren't available, you can substitute them with Blue and Red, or Fluorescent Pink. To do this, separate each channel of your images into corresponding blue, fluorescent pink, yellow, and black channels.



Vectorize your font to avoid pixelation issues. Ensure the font size doesn't go below 6 pt. For optimal results, keep text as a single layer.


Dry Times: 

The soy-based inks used in Riso lack a drying agent, so they never fully dry and rely on absorption into uncoated paper. Consider this when planning your project, especially if it will be handled extensively. To print more than two colors at a time, ensure your print is dry enough to avoid easy smudging. Risograph prints do not offer rush options.  Refer to the specifications below:

  • A single-sided 2-color Riso print requires at least 48 hours to be dry enough to handle.  Please note smudging can still occur. 

  • For each additional color or side, add 24 hours to the printing time.

  • Allow a minimum of 2 hours for sending a print through the machine for a second pass.


Registration, Imperfections, and Adjustments:

Due to the nature of the Risograph machine, printed media will have limits of accuracy in registration. While overlaps can be adjusted manually during the printing process, misregistration is inevitable. Keep this in mind when designing your work. Ensure that surfaces of color overlap under lines; otherwise, white gaps may be visible in your artwork. Thick line work, especially when printed over solid blocks of color, typically looks best.

Using more colors increases the likelihood of difficult-to-align prints. Additionally, the feed rollers are more likely to pick up ink from the prints, leaving marks on your design.

The machine provides three adjustments available for students to use that do not require creating a new master: density adjustment, registration adjustment, and speed. Only Gradlab Print Techs are able to create masters and switch ink colors.


Roller Path:

The paper feed roller runs along a 1” path down the center of the paper. The roller will pick up excess ink from the paper surfaces and leave a track mark on your prints. Avoid heavily inked areas, if using more than 2 colors, in the roller path. Alternatively, a heavily inked layer could be printed last to avoid contact with the paper feed roller. Light track marks are common and can be erased with a simple rubber eraser.


Tips and Resources:

File Setup with Illustrator-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdXvrGMdYcw  and www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRONIVnjb0c/    

Using Spot Colors in Photoshop-


Working with Halftones- www.the-print-guide.blogspot.com/2009/05/halftone-screen-angles.html


 Riso Wiki-



Color Ink Sequences-



You are welcomed to deviate from these guidelines, but please note that prints which deviate from the Grad Lab’s Printing Guidelines must be paid for regardless of the relative success of the outcome. 

Please read the rest of this page for more information on inkjet printing at the Grad Lab. 


Grad Lab Riso Printing Guidebooks:

Click here to download the Grad Lab Risograph Handbook.  

This guide provides a great introduction to Riso printing at the Grad Lab.

Click here to download the Grad Lab Risograph Printing Example. 

This guide offers excellent examples covering various aspects such as file resolution, order of colors, halftoning, LPI (lines per inch), and screen angle.


Riso Printing at the Grad Lab:

Printer: The Print Lab offers a Risograph MF9450 capable of printing on various sheet papers and is equipped with dual-color drums. This printer can produce Risograph prints on a wide range of sheet paper types and is stocked with fourteen color drums. Below, you will find information regarding the paper types stocked by the Lab, as well as pricing and other details about Risograph printing in the Lab.



  • Basic Laser Paper (8.5" X 11") (216mm X 279mm)

  • 24lb Color Paper (8.5" X 11") (216mm X 279mm) (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue)

  • 24lb White Paper (8.5" X 11") (216mm X 279mm)

  • 24lb White Paper (11" X 17") (279mm X 432mm)

  • 32lb Off White Paper (8.5" X 11") (216mm X 279mm)

  • 52lb Matte Brochure Paper (8.5" X 11") (216mm X 279mm)

  • 90lb Watercolor Paper (12" X 18") (305mm X 457mm)

  • 100lb White Cardstock Paper (11"x17") (279mm X 432mm)


Bringing Your Own Paper: If you plan to use your own paper for printing, you are required to reach out to the Manager or Coordinator before your printing appointment. Please schedule a meeting with them to assess whether your substrate is suitable for printing on.

French Paper Co. offers a diverse range of paper styles, colors, and stocks that work well.  It is highly recommended that you bring a minimum of 25 additional sheets of paper per pass to account for density and registration adjustments.  Refer to the specifications below to ensure your paper meets the following requirements:

  • Paper Weight: 12-lb bond to 116-lb index (46 gsm to 210 gsm)

  • Minimum paper size: 3.9” X 5.8” (99.06mm X 147.32mm) 

  • Maximum paper size: 13.4” X 21.9” (340.36mm X 556.26mm)

  • Minimum printing area: 3.9” X 5.8” (99.06mm X 147.32mm) 

  • Maximum printing area: 11.4” X 16.7” (289.56mm X 424.18mm)



The Gradlab is equipped with fourteen colors. Additionally, these colors come with their respective HEX, RGB, and CMYK color codes. Risograph inks are soy-based and semi-transparent. This means that they mix when overlapped and that the color of paper used affects the appearance of the color of the ink after printing.

Black 000000 0, 0, 0 0, 0, 0, 100
Blue 0078BF 0, 121, 191 86, 47, 0, 0
Bright Red F15060 241, 80, 96 0, 67, 60, 5
Brown 925F52 146, 95, 82 18, 62, 84, 23
Flat Gold BB8B41 187, 139, 65 6, 26, 97, 15
Fluorescent Pink FF48B0 155, 72, 176 0, 72, 31, 0
Fluorescent Orange FF7477 255, 116, 119 0, 55, 53, 0
Green 00A95C 0, 169, 92 73, 0, 81, 0
Metallic Gold AC936E 172, 147, 110 22, 33, 68, 8
Orange FF6C2f 255, 108, 47 0, 58, 82, 0
Purple 765BA7 118, 91, 167 62, 74, 0, 0
Teal 00838A 0, 131, 138 100, 1, 40, 7
White FFFFFF 255, 255, 255 0, 0, 0, 0
Yellow FFE800 253, 231, 0 3, 3, 98, 0


Pricing Guide:

Cost Per Pass For Ink

$0.01                                       (Metallic Gold is $0.03)

Cost Per Master



Cost Per Sheet Cost Per Sheet Cost Per Sheet Weight
$0.01 Basic Laser Paper Letter –8.5”x11” (216 x 279mm) 20lb (75gsm)
$0.02 White Paper Letter – 8.5”x11” (216 x 279mm) 24lb (90gsm)
$0.05 White Paper Tabloid –11”x17” (279 x 432mm) 24lb (90gsm)
$0.05 Color Paper Letter – 8.5”x11” (216 x 279mm) 24lb (89gsm)
$0.20 Matte Brochure Paper Letter – 8.5”x11” (216 x 279mm) 40lb (150gsm)
$0.22 Off White Paper Letter – 8.5”x11” (216 x 279mm) 32lb (120gsm)
$0.40 Watercolor Paper Oversized Tabloid – 12”x18” (305 x 457mm) 90lb (190gsm)
$0.30 White Paper Card Stock Tabloid –11”x17” (279 x 432mm) 100lb (271gsm)

* it is highly recommended that you bring a minimum of 25 additional sheets of paper per pass to account for density and registration adjustments.


Steps to Make a Riso Print at the Grad Lab:

  1. Select your paper type by visiting the paper samples near the main entrance of the Grad Lab. Alternatively, you can choose your paper at the time of your appointment, but please be aware of the paper size you have selected and how it relates to the desired size of your image.

  2. Schedule a printing appointment.  Click the "Schedule a Printing Appointment” link located in the “Printing” tab on the Grad Lab’s website. All appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance from your desired printing time. Once your printing request is received, a technician will reach out to you via the gradprinting@mica.edu email address.  

  3. Inspect your file before your printing appointment, ensuring the following is true of your file:

    • Colormode is Grayscale

    • DPI/PPI is 600

    • Files are sized to the length and width you need them to be

    • File(s) saved as PSD or TIFF

  4. Ensure enough funds on your MICARD for the print job. Load funds on your MICARD at https://get.cbord.com/mica .  Payment must be collected before printing your file. A 10% fee will be added to your print if paid with a debit/credit/contactless payment.  Cash is not accepted. 


What to Expect at Your Appointment: 

  1. The Technician running your print will ask you for your file(s).  Prepare your files on a storage drive or host them online for easy access by the Print Lab staff.

  2. The Technician running your print will ask you a series of questions aimed at ensuring the optimal quality of your print. 

  3. The Technician will invite you back to view the riso printing process.

  4. Once printing is complete the Technician will collect payment from you. 


Print at Your Own Risk:

Experimentation is encouraged but must be discussed with the Manager or Coordinator. All prints that deviate from the Grad Lab’s Printing Guidelines must be paid for regardless of the relative success of the outcome. 


Questions or Concerns?

Address concerns with the Manager or Coordinator. Technicians are not authorized to issue refunds. 



The Grad Lab, Equipment Checkout, Computer Lab and Print Lab resources are available for students enrolled in a graduate program at MICA. An active MICA Graduate ID card is required to enter the Grad Lab, to check out equipment or to use computer and printing resources.