Changing fonts to save ink dates back as far as 2008

Image: Lifehacker
Ecofont reduces the amount of ink required for printing by adding tiny holes to the strokes.

You may recall that about three weeks ago a teenager made national headlines by coming up with an idea to save on printing costs by changing the font used. As it turns out, young Suvir Mirchandani was not the first to have the idea.

Yes, the teen did an interesting study to prove his hypothesis, and it made a great science fair project. But the idea to change to a font with skinnier strokes dates back to at least 2010, when Lifehacker reported that Century Gothic uses 30% less ink than Arial. And that story was a follow-up to one they ran in 2008 about a University of Wisconsin professor who proposed the use of a new font — Ecofont — that was specifically designed to use less ink. 

No one is trying to rain on Mirchandani’s parade. He did the research, proved his point, promoted the idea to his school, and published it. Ultimately he calculated the potential savings for the US Government Printing Office, and national media picked up the story. But changing fonts to save ink is an idea that originated at least as early as 2008.


14 thoughts on “Changing fonts to save ink dates back as far as 2008

    1. He may never have presented it as an original idea. It sounded like the point of his project was simply to prove, with his tests and results, that one font used less ink than another. He did the testing and gathered the data to prove the hypothesis. Of course I concluded that he was the first to think about changing fonts, so mentally I was giving him a lot more credit than he might have deserved.

  1. While on the subject of fonts I particularly like the one you’re using but I can’t seem to find it, obviously WP won’t have it on their miserly list of fonts.So please, enlighten to it’s name. 🙂

    1. The heads are FF Meta and the body type is Le Monde Journal. You can see the font names by clicking on “Customized Opti Theme” in the footer. I’m not sure which font you were referring to, but I’m always tickled when someone notices my font choices. Thanks!

      1. Fonts always fascinate me for some reason that I can’t fathom, and I particularly like the one used in your comments and posts, it’s clean, clear and is attractive to my eye unlike Times New Roman et al. I shall have to get it and use it, thank you very much 🙂

        1. Oh, another fontaholic! They fascinate me too, also for reasons I can’t fully explain. They instill a certain flavor that most people don’t notice or appreciate. I’m delighted to meet someone who does! 🙂

          1. And here was I thinking I was unique! 🙁 I

            I like to use different fonts in my correspondence and there are many that I use that reflect the mood I’m in at the time of writing not that anybody notices except to think I’m a bit odd!

  2. Nothing new under the sun – proved again! Hey, people area always “discovering” “new” ideas….like eating organic foods is good, pesticides bad (I remember being 4-5 watching my dad carefully tend the garden sayin “What kind of fool would put poison on stuff he plans to eat?”) and then there’s Beyonce’s “girls lose self esteem in middle school” (sour face – girl, you grew up under the shelter of that “discovery” as a child)
    Goes to prove once again just how short a memory humans have.
    Great post – got a laugh at all of us! (and ditto on the fonts – fonts are so expressive and cool…I lean towards arial )

... and that's my two cents