Lithosphere was formed in 1980 out of the in-plant printshop of the campaigning charity, War on Want on Caledonian Road. It moved into premises on Pentonville Road, N1 and expanded rapidly, employing up to 40 people at one time, becoming the largest printing co-operative in London. They also offered design and typesetting. It emerged at a time when co-operatives were being encouraged to grow and there were various bodies and financial support to assist, for example Greater London Enterprise Board, of whom Lithosphere were beneficiaries. While initially printing for similar campaigning and voluntary sector groups as the other printing co-ops, they developed a more commercial arts and media client-base, including the record label Alternative Tentacles and Palace Pictures. In the late 1980s they absorbed some of the staff from the Hackney based printing co-op, Trojan, who were on the point of collapse. Lithosphere closed as a printing co-operative in the early 1990s, but was relaunched as an environmentalist print management company in 1995.