A small publishing house and Risograph printing studio in Chicago.

Matt Davis, Owner/Operator | info@perfectly-acceptable.com

The Risograph is a duplicator manufactured by Riso Kagaku Corporation in Japan. Risographs are a direct descendent of the mimeograph, though they are often referred to as an intersection of screenprinting, photocopying, and offset printing. Images are produced with a stencil (referred to as a master) wrapped around a cylinder (referred to as a drum) that is coated in ink. The drum rolls over paper fed through the machine, creating an impression. Each drum corresponds with a color of ink, so one color is laid down at a time. Every subsequent color means a new master, and new impressions on the printed stock.

Risograph printing is extremely efficient, fast, and cost-effective. The Risograph was designed for medium volume printing (50 to 5000 copies), typically in office settings, and proves one of the most economical choices against other methods of printing at such quantities. In the last decade Risographs have gained traction in art communities both for the machines practicality as well as its unusual and vibrant set of spot colors.

Perfectly Acceptable Press has been in operation since 2013. We do almost all of our printing with a Risograph RZ990.

Printing specifications:

Paper:

We typically print all of our projects on 11x17" paper with a maximum printable area of 10.7x16.5". Our Risograph reliably accepts paper weights between 50# text and 80# cover. We have a roster of affordable paper we like a lot, but we are happy to try out a new stock.

Some of our favorite papers are milled by French, Mohawk, and Domtar. When looking for paper, keep in mind Risograph ink primarily dries by absorption, so paper must be uncoated. The paper that typically performs best is fibrous and with a slight tooth (e.g. vellum finish).

Files:

Please provide high resolution (300-600 dpi) grayscale PDFs - one for each color of your project. The Riso will convert the gray values to halftones, so no need to do that ahead of time. If your project is full-bleed, include at least an 1/8 inch bleed area, either embedded in the file or otherwise indicated. For books and booklets, provide your project in reading order.

We are capable of replicating full-color images using a faux-CMYK process using 3 or 4 inks to reproduce a more complete spectrum of color.

We are happy to help you prepare your files at any stage for printing at an hourly rate.

Smart design:

Given the cantankerous nature of the Risograph, Risograph printing is inevitably a collaboration between artist, printer, and the machine itself. There is no such thing as "perfectly perfect" print. The imperfect nature is part of makes Risograph printing unique among other forms of duplication.

That said, an intelligently designed image can minimize some of the more unpleasant imperfections such a roller marks and misregistration. Avoid large washes of dense ink coverage, especially down the center, and include trapping in your separations if you are working with more than two colors.

Studio visits are fun! Please get in touch. Our studio is located in the Hubbard Street Lofts in West Town, Chicago. We are reliably here from noon until 6pm, Monday through Friday.

We teach an introductory Risograph class that runs once every month or so at Spudnik Press using their Risograph.

Our colors:

Black

BLACK U
#000000

Fluorescent Pink

806 U
#ff48b0

Red

WARM RED U
#ff665e

Fluorescent Orange

811 U
#ff7477

Orange

Orange 021 U
#ff6c2f

Yellow

YELLOW U
#ffe800

Kelly Green

368 U
#67b346

Light Teal

320 U
#009da5

Aqua

637 U
#5ec8e5

Blue

3005 U
#0078bf

Federal Blue

288 U
#235ba8

Orchid

2592 U
#aa60bf

Burgundy

235 U
#914e72

Brown

7526 U
#925f52

The Pantone and HEX values are approximations. Risograph ink is translucent, so its final appearance depends on the color of the paper it is printed on. Colors can be overprinted to create new ones.

You can download a Photoshop swatch of our colors here.