In publishing, a colophon describes details of the production of a book. This information generally includes the typefaces used, and often the names of their designers; the paper, ink and details of the binding materials and methods may also receive mention. In the case of technical books, a colophon may specify the software used to prepare the text and diagrams for publication. Detailed colophons are a characteristic feature of limited edition and private press printing.

If a book has a colophon, it may appear either on the same page as the copyright information, or at the back of the volume. In early printed books the colophon follows the explicit, the final words of the text. A printer’s or publisher’s device on the title page or spine is sometimes loosely called the colophon.

The term “colophon” derives from the Late Latin colophon, from the Greek word for “summit”, “top”, or “finishing.” It should not be confused with Colophon, an ancient city in Asia Minor, the name of which derives from the Latin colophonium, meaning “colophony”, or rosin.


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