The Color Printer

Digital edition of John Earhart’s 1892 treatise on using colors in typographic printing

Published in 1892 by Cincinnati printer John Franklin Earhart, The Color Printer, A Treatise on the Use of Colors comprises hundreds of illustrations that showcase how just a handful of colors can be mixed and combined to print a rich palette, suitable for printing a wide variety of materials.

This digital edition includes recreations of Earhart’s detailed illustrations, the complete collection of color mixtures he created, an illustrated list of his best color combination recommendations, and more.

Collected on the poster are the decorative illustrations Earhart created to showcase the best colors he produced: 112 two-color mixtures, 8 three-color mixtures, 16 half-tones made from mixing a full color or another mixture with white, and 30 tints. Additionally, he printed 60 illustrations to show how two colors or tints interacted with each other when they were overprinted instead of mixing them before printing. These illustrations were used to demonstrate colors’ effects when printing solids, half-tone lines, quarter-tone lines, and tint lines. The decorative illustrations and their colors have been carefully reproduced from scans of the original publication. Below each illustration is a description of the colors used by number or name.

Explore How it was made

Screenshot of title

Screenshot of base colors

Screenshot of mixtures

Screenshot of tints

Screenshot of overprints

Screenshot of color wheel

Screenshot of harmonious colors


Poster closeup