No Starch Press is a, relatively famous in certain circles, publishing company that specializes in publishing books on programming, web development and other computer technologies. I wonder what their trade name actually means. I'm pretty sure it is some kind of pun or simply a play on words.

No Starch Press logo:

No Starch Press logo

Starch, as far as I'm aware, is a type of organic chemical that has a white color, looks like powder and is typically used for ironing clothes (an image of a clothes iron in the logo gives that away). Press—apart from meaning newspapers, magazines and book publications, of course—is the action of pressing something just like when you're ironing your cloths—you are pressing on the clothes with the iron to make it flat and straight. What also springs to mind is the idea of pressure, like, the kind of pressure and stress you're under when you're having problems in your life or can't deliver a project on time. No should probably be understood as part of the expression no pressure.

For instance:

— What is the time frame for this project?
No real time pressure. Take as much time as you need to get it done.

That is basically all I have been able to infer so far. Pretty sure that it's a spin on the expression no pressure. I just can't figure out where exactly starch fits in here. Please, help me put the other missing pieces together to get to the bottom of this thing.

  • 3
    My guess is that the basic idea is "to use no starch while pressing (clothes)". Maybe this should conjure an image of "clothes pressed, but not stiff (due to starching)". That is, a bit relaxed, not excessively formal. I recall that "starched collars" used to be a symbol of "high society" or "upper classes" Nov 16, 2015 at 9:18
  • Even though I don't really know what was in Bill Pollock's mind, I guess that No Starch Press is used as a metaphor for "no-DRM ebooks". Nov 16, 2015 at 9:22

1 Answer 1


When you take your clothes to the dry cleaners, they press your pants and shirts (nicer clothing) and add starch to keep things stiff. You can tell them to add a lot, a little or none at all. That is the source of the 'no starch' part. In that sense, press is a play on words as it is both a publishing term and a clothing term.

It seems as if the branding meaning would be that their books are natural, plain. 'no starch' - nothing extra. Just the facts. Not stiff, but relaxed.


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