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.



About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (
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