Dutch marketing company Spranq has figured out a clever way to save on ink: punch holes in the font. Their new Ecofont is a freely downloadable font that has a “Swiss-cheese design” intended to save ink by cutting down on the amount of printable area on each letter.
According to Spranq, they saw an average of 20% reduction in ink usage while using the Ecofont compared to that of the original source font, Bitstream Vera Sans. The font resembles the classic Verdana, riddled with donut holes. Spranq’s goal was to remove as much of the font as possible while still maintaining readability. After experimenting with several shapes, they landed on the hole approach, concluding that the basic shape of the letter needed to remain intact in order for the font to be usable.
The font is best used at size 9 or 10 and printed with a laser printer. Though it certainly isn’t crisp enough for public documents, Spranq thinks the Ecofont could be suitable for things like intra-office memos, employee handbooks, and other internal business documents, as well as for personal use.
The font is offered for free under an open source license that encourages contributions from outside developers. Already there are Arabic and Hebrew versions of the Ecofont under development that apply the same ink-saving principles.
Spranq says that the amount of ink saved when using the Ecofont will depend on the age and variety of the printer and the size of the font (the smaller the font, the smaller the percentage of ink savings — though smaller fonts also use less ink in general).
The Ecofont is a really neat idea that should save not only money, due to using less ink, but also help to save the environment by creating less waste (fewer discarded ink and toner cartridges). If you do a lot of printing, you should definitely considering putting the Ecofont into use as a method of saving money and creating less waste. We think Spranq has hit on something very cool and hope that it catches on.
Also be sure to check out our article 10 Tips for Being a Greener Web Designer for more environment saving tips.
Josh Catone joined Mashable in May 2009 and is Executive Director of Editorial Projects. Before joining Mashable, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID.