- Mark McDowell
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Your Choice of Font Can Make You Greener
Changing your font can save significant money by requiring less ink to print documents. Because various fonts require different amounts of ink to print, changing to a simpler font can make printer cartridges last longer.
Printer.com, a Dutch company that evaluates printers, worked with the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in its changeover from using the Arial to the Century Gothic font. According to Diane Biohowiak, the university’s coordinator of information-technology user support, she has asked faculty and staff to use Century Gothic for all printed documents. The University also plans to implement Century Gothic as its default email font. “The feedback we’ve gotten so far has been positive,” Biohowiak said. “Century Gothic is very readable.” The campus, which spends approximately $100,000 every year on ink and toner cartridges, expects to save $5,000 to $10,000 because of the font change.
Printer.com tested several fonts to determine their ink friendliness, with Century Gothic and Times New Roman emerging as the clear winners. Century Gothic uses approximately 30 percent less ink than Arial. The amount of ink a font requires is a result of how thick the lines are. A font with “narrow” or “light” in its name typically is better than one with “bold” or “black”, according to Thom Brown, an ink researcher with Hewlett-Packard Company. Additionally, serif fonts – with short horizontal lines at the top and bottom of characters – tend to use thinner lines and less ink than sans serif fonts.
Microsoft executives point out that it’s even greener to just not print documents. The firm changed its defaults in Office 2007 from Arial and Times New Roman to Calibri and Cambria, said Simon Daniels, a program manager for the firm’s typography group. “We’re trying to move the threshold of when people hit the print button.”