Where does the printer ink come from? 2023

We use printers in our homes or offices for our routine printing tasks. We know that the printer uses ink for printing. Well, have you ever thought about how this ink is made? Where does the printer ink come from? What is the logic behind making color inks? Answers to all of these questions are very interesting and informational. Moreover, it will give you the exact knowledge of how a printer works. Let’s get straight into the article to know where does printer ink come from?


The ink used in printers is a liquid paste made for producing digital graphics and texts. The ink consists of dyes or pigments for producing different colors. The printers use two types of inks.

Dye-based ink:  

In dye-based ink, the colorant is dissolved completely in a carrier liquid. The dye-based ink is a better solution for getting vibrant and rich colored prints. Produces more vivid and sharp prints as compared to pigment-based ink. But the printings printed with dye-based ink come in contact with any liquid, the ink comes off. But if you are using it for printing on any coated label material then the ink remains firm no matter whatever the liquid you throw on it. That is more important to note that when used for label material, the ink is water-resistant but can create an issue if any annoying thing rubs against it. However, if we talk about quality printing, dye-based ink is no doubt the winner.

Pigment-based ink: 

In this ink, the color solid particles are dispersed in a carrier liquid for transferring color. Dye-based printing is perfect for getting professional-quality prints but pigment-based inks are more durable. The prints remain the same for years and don’t fade for so long after printing.

Where does the printer ink come from

Where does the printer ink come from:

Around 500 BC, the Chinese discovered the first printing ink. Most of the inks were produced by using soot, canola, corn, and other colored agents. But later, the soot ink was blended with linseed or varnish oil. In 1772, color ink was made and was consummated in 1800 with the use of drying agents.

Printer ink is made by combining different solvents, dyes, resins, and varnish. Moreover, waxes and lubricants are also added to improve and preserve it. The carbon pigment gives a distinctive color to black ink while titanium dioxide is the material that provides a white color. Different companies and printer manufacturers use their own recipes and formula for making ink. The general ingredients and their role in the composition of ink are discussed below.


Resigns are used to improve and bind the ink gradients. Different resins are used in any random ink for example ketones, alkyds, formaldehyde, and acrylics. Also, it is used to determine the ink’s hardness and quality of adhesion.


Pigments are also known as carbon black. They are combined with varnish to make basic black ink. Pigments give their color to the ink and help to survive against heat and solvents. Thus it is an important part of ink. 

Other essential elements of ink:

There are some other notable elements of ink added to it to improve the quality of your prints. 

1- Humectant: 

One of these essential elements is the humectant that slows down the aging process of the ink. Ultimately, the prints last longer and also seem as printed just recently. In ink, the humectant is almost 20-70 percent by weight and its task is to minimize the rate of evaporation. Moreover, it makes the printed photo dry faster.

2- Defoamers:

Besides pigments and resins, some additives are also included in the ink for quality final results. Some of the additives are surfactants, defoamers, and waxes. The job of defoamers is to control the bubbles in ink and also destroy the foam to provide an outstanding printing experience.

Other elements include wetting agents that are for controlling the properties of printing surfaces. The bacteriostats and biocides restrain the fungi and bacterias’ growth in the paint. 

Types of Ink:

There are two types of ink: black ink and color ink. Black ink is for printing text documents while color ink is for photos and colorful prints. 

Black ink:

The black ink is made up of varnish and carbon black. For making black ink, carbon black is mixed with titanium dioxide.  

Color ink:

For printing color documents and photos, color printers use four main inks including, black, yellow, cyan, and magenta. When these colors mix together, they make the full-color spectrum that is required for printing rich and sharp color documents and photos. To improve the colors and print quality, some modern printers offer additional inks. These inks include light magenta, grey, and light cyan for more professional and high-quality printings. 

Reason for the printer ink’s expansiveness: 

There is a great issue in using the printers that if the printer is not too expensive, its ink would be too pricey. If you are buying a printer for home use, it becomes much pricey at times. The ink runs out soon after a few uses. Sometimes the ink finishes even when the printer is not in use. And, it happens at times that despite running out, the ink loses its quality over time when not in use.

Often the customers ask this question: why is printer ink so expensive? The answer is that the preparation of ink needs much consideration and the technology behind it is very pricey. The printer ink manufacturers not only spend time producing quality inks but also invest a lot to provide reliable and rich inks. So, they get their share of the technology they used to bring quality inks with lasting and vivid colors. 

Is ink available in white color:

The people who want to create something new are always in search of novel techniques. If you are one of them and searching for white ink, beware, all the printers are not capable of printing in white. The opaque white color ink is available that helps you to print in white color. But the white ink is quite expensive and printing in white becomes more pricey than normal color printing.

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