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Company History

How It Started

In 1970, a young artist moved to Seattle and found himself in the company of a group of printmakers. After sharing many ideas about print and art, Daniel Smith and his new-found friends decided to put a show together at the University of Washington, Henry Gallery. The show, called Multicom, was comprised of numerous interactive projects and demonstrations.

To support his passion for art, Dan took up a job as a commercial printer. Initially working in the University of Washington printing plant, he later joined Columbia Printing, a small commercial printing company. It was here he learned that artist-printmakers were using commericial printing inks, which were neither lightfast nor complimentary to the slower methods of a print artist. Dan saw the opportunity to make a difference in the print-artist community and set forth to create a better ink.

Selling his motorcycle, which was just enough to purchase an old 3-roll mill, Dan began developing his first batches of black ink. Still working his day job, the reputation of Dan's ink quickly spread amoung print-artists. Three years later, Dan's moonlight venture had become a full-time profession. It was time to move out of the garage.

Growing to Meet Artists' Demands

Now that artists were seeking out Daniel Smith ink, it made sense to offer other products, such as fine paper, tools and printing plates. And the artists kept coming. By the fourth year, the business had grown again to a point where Dan needed extra help. Hiring several employees and furthering his vision of making a difference for the artist, he began manufacturing colored inks.


In 1983, Daniel Smith Inc moved its manufacturing and retail into a large Seattle facility. Today, you will find several Daniel Smith stores and, of course, Daniel Smith Online.

Like the inks Dan first made some 30 years ago, Daniel Smith's Watercolors and Oil Colors are made of superior quality and often offer colors available nowhere else.

Daniel Smith has changed a lot since the days of working out of a garage. As an internationally recognized name in the art community, Daniel Smith has built its reputation on thinking like an artist, and not just thinking for the artist. It is this philosophy that keeps us innovative, customer focused and the source for art supplies for artists around the world.

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