Mohawk Blog

Regarding Riso: ilootpaperie

Sarah Schwartz
Tiny Deer Studio

Riso's colors make ilootpaperie co-founders' hearts beat fast.

Sisters Alice and Doris Lieu, co-founders of ilootpaperie, described their first encounter with Riso a few years back at an LA Zine Fest by saying, “We were immediately drawn to these pops of color, a strong punch of candy bright colors, and it piqued our curiosity to find out more about the printing method that could achieve the gritty texture with beautiful combinations due to color overlap. The colors made our hearts beat fast,” recalled Alice.

In short, Riso arrests your attention.


Alice and Doris wanted to get more acquainted with the technical process of printing to help them better plan the art prints they specifically conceptualized for the risograph printing method, so they took to a class at The Print Shop LA.

“In working through the printing of our first test design, our Rock Paper Scissors Sumo Wrestlers, we quickly came to experience first-hand some of the quirks and challenges of the printing method, for example off-registration,” claimed Doris.


The sisters found their own approach to best the method’s challenges.  “We learned quickly in our first class that it is important to keep some of the quirky limitations of Riso printing, such as off-registration and limited color range, in mind as we developed the artwork and concepts,” Alice continued. “Being strategic in certain design choices could make the file set up and printing process less intense. We spent a good amount of time in our first class trying to align and color in our sumo wrestler's tiny little outfit so that left a very strong impression that would allow the printing process to be more flexible with registration if the particular machine you were working with was older and more jumpy.”

Sisters Alice and Doris Lieu
Co-founders of ilootpaperie

The two find Riso’s qualities, good and bad, to be its draw. “Even though the off-registration, overprinting, uneven ink distribution, color separations and limited colors can be challenging and definitely require a different mindset and clever planning, (they’re) why we are so drawn to the method,” underlined Doris. “It allows us to grow as artists and further our brand and aesthetic, and to try to incorporate the colors we loved so much at the LA Zine Fest but haven't been able to achieve with digital and foil printing. The color range is limited compared to HP digital printing, but being able to tweak the color opacity and overprinting provides an endless amount of combinations that we are so excited about.” 


To decide on the perfect paper for this imperfect method, Alice and Doris worked with Lyndsey Burke of Risolve Studio. “She provided a couple of options but recommended Mohawk for our art prints as it takes large areas of ink very well and is very vibrant,” described Alice. “Our art print illustrations had strong colors and were filled in with areas of color so it made sense to pick the Mohawk Via Vellum Radiant White 80lb Cover. We are thrilled with how beautiful the colors pop on the paper and we can't imagine the prints any different from how they printed out!”

“Our art print illustrations had strong colors and were filled in with areas of color so it made sense to pick the Mohawk Via Vellum Radiant White 80lb Cover. We are thrilled with how beautiful the colors pop on the paper and we can't imagine the prints any different from how they printed out!”
Alice Lieu
Co-Founder, ilootpaperie

So far, the two are enjoying learning more about the method. “What we really enjoy about risograph prints is the personality of the print that comes from the textures of the layered colors and uneven ink distribution that embraces imperfections and the unexpected,” described Alice. “There's definitely an element of surprise and freedom that comes with those slight imperfections. The process differs quite a lot from digital printing, which is much more precise and exacting.”

Mohawk Via Vellum
Radiant White 80lb Cover

The designing duo have totally embraced the experimental nature of Riso. Doris observes, "It gives us space to keep things fresh and playful for our line and for ourselves as artists and makers. We've wanted to find ways to encourage play amongst ourselves to balance the intensity of running a small business. We (decided) art prints would be a natural platform as a bold introduction (and our ode) to the Risograph printing method. In addition, the improvisational feel to the process — and the idea of embracing imperfections as a part of growth — lends itself conceptually to the copy of the two prints we had planned for our first risographs, "Grow Your Own Way" and "You Grow Girl."


Client: ilootpaperie, Pasadena, CA

Design: ilootepaperie, Pasadena, CA

Printer: Risolve, Lincoln University, PA

Paper: Mohawk Via Vellum Radiant White 80lb Cover

For a limited time, the pop-up Make with Mohawk Printshop, made possible by Mohawk’s friends at Taylor Corp. & powered by TOGink, invites anyone curious about risography to transform PDF to printed object and experience the unpredictability, and inherent charm of Riso firsthand.

Are you a Risograph printer? Hey cool! You should be a part of our Find a Printer program. We’d love to say we know every Riso printer in town, alas right now we don’t — but we’d like to.

Are you looking to print Riso AND print local? Look no further than — a RISO wiki for artists, designers, and printers. We kind of want to be them when we grow up.

Production Notes

Print Process
Risograph (RISO)

Materials Used

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