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Ink Saving Fonts

Can the right font cut your printing costs?

Hit by the high prices of inkjet and toner cartridges, we're all looking for ways to shave some bucks off the cost of printing. New data from found that because different fonts use different amounts of ink to print, using the right font could save you as much as 31 percent off your inkjet and toner cartridge expenses., a Dutch company that compares printers and their costs, recently put its theory to the test. The company set up two printers--a Canon inkjet and a Brother laser printer--to see how much money could be saved by using different fonts. Both printers were left at their default settings of 600x600 dots per inch.

  font size coverage private cost business cost
1 Century Gothic 10 3.45% $46.32 $179.29
2 Ecofont 10 3.47% $46.59 $180.33
3 Time Roman 11 3.54% $47.53 $183.97
4 Calibri 11 3.81% $51.16 $198.00
5 Verdana 10 4.55% $61.09 $236.45
6 Arial * 11 4.97% $66.73 $258.28
7 Sans Serif 11 5.09% $66.34 $264.52
8 Trebuchet 11 5.12% $66.74 $266.08
9 Tahoma 11 5.21% $66.95 $270.75
10 Franklin Gothic medium 11 5.51% $73.98 $286.34

Using the default Arial font as a baseline, changed to different fonts as it put the printers through their paces. The winner: Century Gothic, which delivered a 31 percent savings in printing costs over Arial.

On a dollar basis, the company projected that the average person printing around 25 pages a week would save $20 a year by using Century Gothic for all documents. A business or heavy-duty user printing 250 pages per week would save around $80 for the year. And large companies with multiple printers could potentially save hundreds of dollars a year.

As a thin and light font, Century Gothic managed to beat out Econfont, which was specifically created to cut costs by spewing out less ink. But if Century Gothic doesn't look like the right style for your documents, third place and always popular Times Roman could also help ease your printing budget, according to's results.

To conduct its tests, switched among the 10 most frequently used fonts and chose a font size of 10 or 11. To better determine the coverage of each font, the company printed documents saved as PDF files and used a software program called Apfill to calculate that coverage.

Details of the research:
  • 10 frequently used fonts were selected.
  • The font size (10 or 11) is relative. Font size was chosen in such a way that the page filling for all fonts in the model letter was virtually the same.
  • To determine the coverage, the model letter is saved as PDF file. This PDF is calculated by the software Apfill, which calculates the coverage of the specific font.
  • To determine the cost of a private user per year, the inkjet printer “Canon Pixma MP 210” was used with 25 printed pages per week.
  • To determine the cost of a small-business user per year, the laser printer “Brother HL-2140” was used with 250 printed pages per week.
  • Both Canon and Brother publish the number of printed pages with a coverage of 5%. Through interpolation, the costs have been calculated for other coverage rates if the sample letter would be printed with other fonts.
  • For the Canon printer, calculations are based upon a black cartridge PG-40 with a retail value of roughly $17 In case of the Brother printer calculations are based upon a black cartridge with a retail value of $30.