Printer.com recently put this notion to the test using two popular printers. The Canon Pixma MP 210 was picked to simulate the printing of private users while the Brother HL-2140 laser printer was used to test business use. Both printers were left at their default settings (600 by 600 dpi). Changing only the font resulted in saving between $20 and $80 per year.
Arial, reigning as the most popular font, was used as the “zero” measurement, against which nine other fonts were tested. The clear winner was Century Gothic, which returned 31% savings in both printers. For the average private user, printing approximately 25 pages per week, this will easily generate a net reduction of $20 in a year. A business-user, printing approximately 250 pages per week, could save $80. If your organization uses multiple printers, you can save hundreds of dollars per year doing nothing more than picking a more economical font.
Century Gothic is a modern font that comes standard with MS Windows. Surprisingly, it even beat Ecofont which was specifically designed with efficiency and cost in mind. For those who require a more “traditional” look, Times New Roman provides a good balance between style and savings.
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 pfill, 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.
Photo credit: borman818
>> Listen to an NPR report about the U of Wisconsin’s switch to Century Schoolbook (2 minutes)
The values of the Printer.com research are approximate values that are based on the model letter. Actual situations can be different. Printer.com makes no warranties or representations whatsoever with regard to any product, information or calculation provided or offered by any manufacturer, e-store or merchant; and you hereby expressly acknowledge that any reliance on any representations and warranties, whether provided in writing or otherwise, provided by any e-Store, merchant, vendor or manufacturer will be at your own risk.
A similar test was done using apfill here:
The table of results is more complex than needed, but does quote more fonts than Printer.com:
The test covered a few other points than coverage.
Apfill software gave different result on a mac or a pc, and about 8% higher than a manual estimage.
Test documents can be done for a specific purpose. The school test document had a lot of underlines in it because teachers use them in handouts: the character quoted after "z" is underline or underscore.