The Font of Frugality

Fascinating research unearthed by Matthew Stibbe on the HP Business Answers site.

Changing font has a material impact on your printing costs.  If, like me, you still tend to print a lot of your work out for proofing (yes, Luddite I know) – and you find yourself bemused at the frequency with which you change ink cartridges – then a change to font may be the answer.

In research by, Century Gothic (this, slightly scratchy and insubstantial looking font) used 31% less ink than the world’s favourite, Arial.

Century Gothic was the most frugal ink tested, with an estimated annual business cost (based on 250 pages per week) of $179.

Times New Roman – the editors’ favourite – ranked third at $184.

Arial came in at number 6 with a cost of $258.

Of course, there are far more important considerations about readability, audience preference and design – and I suspect that few of us have the patience to constantly change fonts for printing – but interesting nonetheless.

All of which reminds me of a recent book: Just My Type by Simon Garfield.  I happened across an episode of the book’s serialisation on BBC Radio 4 and thought “if only my Must Read shelf wasn’t creaking”.  It’s an almighty feat to render something as apparently prosaic as fonts fascinating.


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