Monday, May 11, 2009

Swiss cheese, Dutch fonts

What do they have in common? Holes. The San Francisco Chronicle Business section today had a short item about a free downloadable font from Dutch "creative communications" agency Spranq. The font, called Econfont, came from the realization that the everyday printing we do uses up not only paper but also ink. So they developed a font with the centers of the tiny ink dot removed.
Appealing ideas are often simple: how much of a letter can be removed while maintaining readability? After extensive testing with all kinds of shapes, the best results were achieved using small circles. After lots of late hours (and coffee) this resulted in a font that uses up to 20% less ink.
The site says that the font works best in 9 to 11 pt size. I'm going to give it a try - after buying a $42 printer cartridge over the weekend, the primary use of which is to print out draft copies of articles to copyedit then recycle and maps to obscure softball fields, I'm ready to try anything.

While researching a story for the July issue of EContent Magazine on "people centric document management" it became clear to me that the idea of a paperless office is still way off on the horizon, because personal printing is so easy and tempting now. One study pinned the implementation of corporate email with a 40% INCREASE in the amount of documents printed. So if we're going to print, let's at least do it as judiciously as possible, right down to the ink dots.

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