Penrose Press began in Utrecht, the Netherlands, in 1988. Its first publication was a quarterly periodical entitled "Languages of Design", published in collaboration with Elsevier Science BV. This journal was published for four years, ending with Vol 3.
In 1989, Penrose Press began publishing the "International Directory of Design ", the most complete international directory of design educational programs. In 1995, the directory was expanded to include journals and professional organizations, and in 1998, conferences and events were added. The directory was always distributed on the Internet, as well as in print form. Initially, it was distributed through e-mail. In 2005, the print edition was suspended, and it became a web-only publication.
Between 1991 and 2003, the directory was published in print. By 2001, it had grown to 12 volumes with over 2,000 pages. Soon, it was no longer economically feasible to publish the directory in print. After careful consideration, the Press decided to convert the directory to a web-only publication. The directory's website remained dormant for about two years, until a new version that could fulfill the new requirements of a web-only publication could be developed. It was released in January of 2005.
In 2006, Penrose Press began an internet news service, " Custom News ". This news service delivers specialized news focused on a specific customer's unique subject interests. The site utilizes advanced semantic network and lexical analysis software to drive customized news crawling and news aggregation. By 2007, three on-line newsletters based on this technology have been published - Urban Agriculture News, Fashion Industry News and Green Architecture News.
In 2009, Penrose Press published its first game, " ONEXENO ", a straightforward edge-matching card game with 70 unique cards per deck representing the complete set of TriHadamard kernels. The basic game may be played by 2 to 7 players, ages 7 and up. Players make points by arranging rows of edge-matching cards. When a row of five cards is complete, the player takes the points indicated on the face of the card. This simple rule leads to a game of exceptional complexity and engaging strategic play.