Friday, 9 April 2010

Save $$ by changing your font

MIT's Technology Review has an article that explains how you can save money by changing the font you use in documents you print. Yes, really. Apparently the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay expects to save $5,000 to $10,000 a year on ink and toner cartridges because they have asked faculty and staff to use Century Gothic for all printed documents. The school also plans to change its e-mail system so it uses Century Gothic. This is based on data from a company called When tested popular fonts for their ink-friendly ways, Century Gothic and Times New Roman topped the list. Calibri, Verdana, Arial and Sans Serif were next, followed by Trebuchet, Tahoma and Franklin Gothic Medium. Century Gothic uses about 30 percent less ink than Arial. The amount of ink a font drains is mainly driven by the thickness of its lines. A font with "narrow" or "light" in its name is usually better than its "bold" or "black" counterpart, said Thom Brown, an ink researcher (how's that for a great job title?) at Hewlett-Packard Co., the world's top maker of printers. Also, serif fonts -- those with short horizontal lines at the top and bottom of characters -- tend to use thinner lines and thus less ink than a "sans serif".
The article also points out that the greenest way to save on ink is not to print at all. That's the philosophy Microsoft Corp. said it uses in deciding which fonts to include in its Outlook and Word applications. The more pleasing a font looks on the screen, the less tempted someone will be to print, said Simon Daniels, a program manager for Microsoft's typography group. That's why the company changed its defaults in Office 2007 from Arial and Times New Roman to Calibri and Cambria (Yes, there was an environmental reason). "We're trying to move the threshold of when people hit the print button," he said.
There is no discussion of the ink usage of Comic Sans, the annoying font that inspired the Ban Comic Sans movement.

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