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Font change could save money, planet

Jenna Johnson

Well, here's a rather original, money-saving, budget-cutting, planet-saving idea: The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is changing its e-mail font.

For years, the university has used Arial. But during spring break last week, it switched to Century Gothic, which uses roughly 30 percent less ink when printed on paper. Director of Computing and Information Technology Diane Blohowiak told Wisconsin Public Radio that the new font uses even less ink than a widely touted "Eco Font."

With printer ink costing around $10,000 a gallon, the university is hoping the font change will help departments save some money. Plus, the change fits with the university's five-year plan to go green. So far, Blohowiak told WPR, she hasn't received any complaints about the change.

University press shop workers were a little taken aback that news of its font change was categorized as weird or bizarre by national newspapers. On their blog they wrote:

We note also that in the Houston Chronicle, it was placed in its News Bizarre section. Is saving money and using less ink "bizarre?" We wouldn't think so, but here's that link.
And at the Miami Herald they think that this change is worthy of "Weird News." Maybe it's the oxymoron of printing out your e-mails, but c'mon, practically everybody does it at least on occasion. Or maybe they're getting too much sun in Miami and Houston. Here's a link.

By Jenna Johnson  |  March 26, 2010; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags: University of Wisconsin  
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Yes, but what the school employee failed to mention is that Century Gothic when used at the same point size as Arial is about 15% wider. That means text that will fit on one line of Arial will wrap to a new line in Century Gothic. This means that you can't print as much text in that font on one page. This means that Century Gothic will, at least some of the time, require N+1 pages per printout instead of N.

Since paper is cheaper than toner, it makes economic sense to conserve it rather than paper. But is it really a "green" solution?

Posted by: milkchaser | March 26, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

The comparison with Ecofont is not right. Ecofont is not a single font. Ecofont is software that shoots holes in EVERY font, also in Century Gothic, without cutting down on legibility (

So there is no font saving more money than Ecofont software.

Posted by: rvandenbos | March 29, 2010 2:58 AM | Report abuse


milkchaser and rvandenbos:

Pardon me, but I find even greater savings when I use the "Hidden" font. It doesn't matter what other font you choose, Hidden will save vastly more toner--even more than Ecofont.

All my communications with my staff of 1,000 are much more exciting, as well. It seems like they can read my mind--my communications are so clear. And that's on top of the paper recycling which is now enabled. We planned to test this approach for nine months--but the paper savings alone became so clearly evident the organization adopted it wholesale within three months. For example, through recycling printer paper, we haven't even used complete one ream yet in 2010.

"Try Hidden, you'll like it!"

Posted by: astewart49 | March 31, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I made an interesting discovery today. By changing the font from times roman to courier I gained 60 pages to my book. WOW!! I would have never thought a font would make such a huge difference. Not only do we save ink by changing font, we save paper & time.

Posted by: livebeyondecstasy | April 14, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

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