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How to Conserve Ink Cartridges, Reduce Waste, and Save Your Business Money

If your business does a lot of in-house printing of text files, you will save money by setting your default font— in web browsers and Microsoft Word— to Garamond. This is the implication of a blog article posted in July of 2009 that highlights some insightful work done by creative duo Matt Robinson (formerly at http://www.matthewrobinson.co.uk/projects/measuring-type/) and Tom Wrigglesworth. Tom and Matt took one word (“Sample”) outlined in eight common fonts and used a ball point pen to “fill in” each font and determine which required the most amount of ink. They concluded that Garamond required the least amount, but we wanted to test this conclusion a bit more scientifically.

Garamond is clearly the "greenest" font that we tested.

Garamond is clearly the "greenest" font that we tested.

First, we took one page of text— the first page of Henry David Thoreau’s, Walden. Next, we replicated that page in 12 point text with seven different fonts. We used the popular design software Adobe Illustrator to render every letter as an individual “shape.” (Think, tiny circles for periods.) And since Adobe Illustrator uses mathematically drawn vectors for shapes, we then applied a filter to calculate the collective area of each letter-shape for our seven pages. Our conclusion? Kudos to Mr. Robinson and Mr. Wrigglesworth! Their conclusion appears to be spot on.

Out of our seven fonts commonly chosen for text output in office settings, Garamond performed the best due to its reduced “surface area” when compared to fonts of the same size. This means that Garamond will require your printer to use comparatively fewer droplets of ink… which will prolong the life of your ink cartridges, reduce waste, and save your business loads of cash. Just how much ink will it save? If your default font is set to either “Arial” or “Helvetica,” a switch to Garamond will save more than 40% of your total ink output per page! And all this can be had for a one-time investment of less than two minutes spent changing a few default fonts! Cha-ching!

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