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Richmond, VA 23231

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Fonts and Ink/toner Usage

Most of us probably choose a font for legibility, mood, or beauty. Recent research by, a Dutch company, brings to light new info for choosing fonts. Their study shows that your choice of fonts will impact your ink or toner costs for the year. The University of Wisconsin at Green Bay was used for the study, and their estimated savings is between five and 10 thousand dollars a year when they choose certain fonts.

The crux of ink usage is obviously in the design of the letters. Narrow or light versions of a font will use less ink than their bold or black counterparts. Serif fonts tend to use less ink, as the lines are thinner. Century Gothic, for example, uses on average 30% less ink than Arial. The top five fonts according to for low ink usage are Century Gothic, Times New Roman, Calibri, Verdani, and Arial. Of course, it makes sense to check your print quality and use draft quality, InkSaver, and APFill whenever possible.

Another interesting endeavor in the font world is Ecofont. Essentially, they offer a “holey” version of fonts. Ecofont Vera Sans, based on an open-source font, is free to use and can be downloaded from the Web. Ecofont software will soon be available. With it, one can apply the holey concept to the font of their choice.

One final piece of interesting research comes from Matt Robinson. In “Measuring Type,” he has artistically shown how a number of typefaces rate in terms of ink usage. It is worth the Google search to see his interesting pictorial done with ballpoint pens. He recommends the Garamond typeface for reducing printing costs.