Save Ink with the InkSaver Font

While I still think it may be some sort of obscure and premature April Fool’s joke, an article called Kerning, Kerning, kerning through the years in the Washington Post presents a mildly humorous presentation of the story of a 14 year old research genius who figured out that switching from a heavier weight font to a lighter weight font for all government documents would save hundreds of millions of dollars a year in wasted ink. The author seemed to think this was a clever new discovery, but this is actually not a new idea. We figured it out back in 2008 and took a rather more aggressive approach to solving the desperate problem.

Some clever Dutch fellows at a company called SPRANQ (of all things) came up with the idea to produce an EcoFont designed to print using 20% less ink and thereby save the entire ecosystem, the world and our children’s future. But after spending about $100 to replace the cartridges in my wife’s photo-quality inkjet which gets used to print a lot of school assignments and paperwork, it occurred to me that just saving 20% may be nice symbolically, but doesn’t do enough for my bottom line.

So, since designing fonts is what I do, it was off to the drawing board to come up with a font which can save even more ink. The problem with EcoFont is that it uses a single line of relatively large white spots to reduce ink consumption. My approach was to effectively pixilate the font by changing it from solid black to a grid pattern of about half black and half white squares, rather like a half-toned lithograph. Instead of just a few large white areas, the average character has about a hundred tiny white blocks. We think that the end result should be a savings of about 40% on ink consumption with a readable font which still looks black at point sizes up to about 36 point. The font is based on our popular font, and works best when used at 9 or 10 point size. You’ll never forget the purpose of the font with the clever name InkSaver.

InkSaver is available in OpenType and TrueType format for MacOS or Windows. A single font probably isn’t going to save the world all by itself, but at least you can spend the money you save on ink on something useful – perhaps on more fun fonts. At a cost of just $18 you ought to be able to save the money to cover your purchase cost for InkSaver in a few months of constant use. Even sooner if you only buy OEM ink.

You can purchase InkSaver in our ONLINE STORE

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15 comments on “Save Ink with the InkSaver Font

  1. Brilliant – thank you!!!

  2. Henk Gianotten

    Perhaps you save some 40% on the actual patterns. So 60% of the black character is black and 40% white. However, that’s on the digital character. On the printed character it’s less. That depends on the TVI or tonal value increase caused by the printer, the substrate and the ink. At a larger point size, the saving is high, at a lower point size, the relative saving is far less.
    Ecofont has the same influence of TVI.
    Anyway, Ecofont and your solution increase the awareness of printer ink consumption. Print less on your personal printer.

  3. It sounds helpful but I currently choose ‘Custom’ for my printer settings and use the lightest setting for the ink. Is this better than doing that?

  4. Lumpy

    This may actually work better on toner based laser printers than on inkjets which nay have trouble differentiating the emty and full spaces at small sizes.

  5. Dave Nalle

    A couple of updates.

    First, the font file has been updated. I noticed we were getting a lot of hits from Europe, so I’ve added a full European character set.

    Second, I’ve examined output from the font using several different inkjet and laser printers at strong magnification, and also done some comparison under the same conditions with the original EcoFont. While it’s quite clear that both fonts work to at least some extent, neither of them seems to hold its characteristics well at very small point sizes. There’s no question that at point sizes larger than 12 point InkSaver works better at reducing ink/toner consumption than EcoFont does. At 12 points or lower the difference is hard to tell and neither may work terribly well, unless the beneficial effects are being obscured by ink spread, which is entirely possible.

    The only definitive test would be to actually run through two entire ink cartridges, once printing with a normal font and once with the InkSaver font and see which printed more pages.

    I’m still confident that ink use reduction is taking place even at small sizes, but I’ve got no real idea if it is as substantial as it is at larger point sizes.


  6. Henk Gianotten

    your font character set was very limited. Thanks. For a number of European languages, this is still not enough. Did you compare the Ecofont character set and the InkSaver characterset?

  7. Hello, Dave
    Thank you very much for the link and updates!
    European languages need an extended set, but the concep is great and I’ll use it in my English writings ….

  8. Henk Gianotten

    Hi Dave,
    in spite of the extended character set, some characters (such as dollar, asterix, ampersand, percent, number and plus) are in black instead of screened mode.
    These “high lighted” characters can create very confusing text blocks.

  9. Dave

    I kind of did this in a hurry. It currently has the characters for the romance languages and almost all the characters for German. Scandinavian and Eastern European languages may have to wait because our new Steampunk Fonts project is on deadline.

    Same applies to some of the punctuation. When I was pixelating I missed a couple of punctuation characters so I’ve got to go back and do them, as Henk noted.


  10. Pedro

    it really is a good idea but some simbols appear as squares and some few words appear more black than the rest . Can you correct these?

  11. Pedro

    i think inksaver is better on saving ink than ecofont, but it has some errors, like punctuation, so i cant use it for my highschool works… i hope it gets a full update… anyway this is free and a nice work!

  12. CC

    Thanks soooO much! I really appreciate this, as I’m an environmentalist AND a card maker…. I will b using your font 2 make my products even MORE eco-friendly!

    Many thanks!

  13. Dave

    This new version of InkSaver has now been updated with a much larger and improved international character and punctuation set.


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