How Much Ink Does Your Font Drink?

Most designers know that typefaces like Poster Bodoni take up more physical space on a page than, say, News Gothic Condensed, and that choice of typestyle not only affects readability but the credibility of the message as well — for example, never, ever typeset the CEO’s letter to shareholders in Comic Sans. One thing that designers probably haven’t thought about is how much ink each typeface consumes on an office printer. Well, a Dutch company called did. It compared 10 of the most frequently used typefaces on a Canon inkjet and a Brother laser printer (both set at 600×600 dots per inch), using Arial as the baseline font.

Century Gothic resulted in a 31% ink savings over Arial. It even beat out Ecofont, which was specifically developed to spare the environment by cutting down on ink usage. By’s calculation, a business that printed out 250 pages a week would save about $80 per year just by switching to Century Gothic. Times New Roman, Verdana and Calibri all performed better than Arial, but Franklin Gothic Medium (11 pt.) gulped ink like a bar room drunk, consuming nearly double what the ink sipping light, thin lines of Century Gothic did. Is there a point to all this? Not really. We just thought it was interesting to contemplate.