Printing Costs: Does Font Choice Make a Difference?

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Did you realize you can actually cut printing costs just by choosing another font? Even with everyone looking for new ways to save money, it’s doubtful most people have considered the font they use for letters, reports, and notices, but you can actually save 31% on your ink cartridge costs just by picking the right font. 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 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.

Photo credit: borman818

The values of the research are approximate values that are based on the model letter. Actual situations can be different. 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.

14 Responses to “ Printing Costs: Does Font Choice Make a Difference? ”

  1. Thanks for this,

    I always use Arial and now I think I will take a close look at the readability of the some of these ink saving fonts.

  2. Also, you can set your printer to “draft output” which saves a FORTUNE on toners!

  3. You can also just change the font size or the line spacing, or the margins. Or if you’re really concerned about saving ink/toner just stop printing.

  4. I was searching for Blogs about epson printers cartridge replacement and found this site. I am interested in your content and appreciate sites like this.

  5. [...] reminder that we all should do what we can to conserve. Saving ink by choosing a more efficient font is a good start, but it’s only the beginning. Here are five more ways you can green your [...]

  6. Using those tiny little sans serif fonts are great for people with great vision, but perhaps not so great for older readers, and by older I mean anyone over forty.

    Sanserif fonts like Arial are grand for headlines, not so good for the body of the text. Sure you’ll save some money, but you’ll wear out the reader. Those little tails, the serifs, on fonts like Garamond help lead the eye along.

    If you’ve just printing tons of crap and you don’t think it matters if anyone reads it, then hey, use Helvetica. But if you are writing something important or worthwhile, OR, if other people are compelled to read it, then don’t make them suffer to save yourself a couple of cents.

    For the body of text, Arial sucks.

  7. Ellen,

    If you want to use a serif font, you’ll notice from the chart that Times New Roman (a serif font) handily beats out Arial in efficiency.

    Arial sees such widespread use primarily because it’s the default in programs like MS’s Word and Internet Explorer. But Century Gothic is far more efficient in terms of ink usage.

    I myself prefer Garamond as well. It’s just a friendlier font that invites the reader’s eye to peruse the page. But when efficiency counts, like for drafts and things, I think I’ll probably switch to Century Gothic. Buying all those ink cartridges really bites you in the wallet!

  8. Umm.. if you’re *really* thinking about saving cash, and don’t need serifs, check out

    They’ve taken a very plain font and punched tiny holes in all the glyphs in such a manner that it doesn’t detract from readability.

  9. EcoFont is really cool. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Thanks for the post. It’s a very good read.
    I really like to read

  11. What about Helvetica???
    It’s only the most common font in signage!

  12. Thank you for this wonderful information! I’ve installed EcoFont & will be giving it a try.


  13. Unbelievable!!!! Do you mean tell me, that smaller type uses less ink and is therefore less costly to print? I’m stunned, and I’m one of those older readers who’s looked at a lot words, and was earlier so rudely referred to by another contributor to as being “older readers”. A designer friend of mine would often tell me that, “… and printing with larger type uses more ink Michael, ergo it cost’s more to print….” I would laugh and call him a fool, telling him he had been over educated at his fancy education place and lost all common sense. But according to your test the joke’s on me. Now I owe somebody one rather large apology. Please excuse me.
    Also for your information, those little tails, stressed lines, sagging umlauts and dots at the ends of the letterforms, all mean that you’re printing in the German.

  14. I select all and change the color of my text to dark gray before printing drafts. It makes my ink go a lot further.

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