Ink is a gel, sol, or solution that contains at least one colourant, such as a dye or pigment, and is used to color a surface to produce an image, text, or design. Ink is used for drawing or writing with a pen, brush, reed pen, or quill. Thicker inks, in paste form, are used extensively in letterpress and lithographic printing.
Ink can be a complex medium, composed of solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, particulate matter, fluorescents, and other materials. The components of inks serve many purposes; the ink's carrier, colorants, and other additives affect the flow and thickness of the ink and its dry appearance.
In 2011, worldwide consumption of printing inks generated revenues of more than 20 billion US dollars.