Printer ink is widely known in popular culture for being one of the most expensive liquid products in the world, commanding prices of upwards of $3,000 per gallon — more costly than many vintage champagnes. It therefore comes as no surprise that consumers are constantly exploring opportunities to save on their printer ink expenses, especially if most of what they print are just text documents or items in monochrome.

To avoid the high market prices of printer ink products, many consumers rely on alternative products like high-quality re-manufactured ink cartridges, which are basically empty cartridges refilled with suitable replacement ink. There are also newly manufactured compatible ink cartridges, which are produced by third-party suppliers.

Other people also take advantage of the benefits of buying XL cartridges, which typically last longer than regular cartridges and cost less over the long term. Despite its name, XL cartridges are not larger in size compared to regular cartridges. The “XL” simply means that the cartridge is filled with more ink and produces a higher page yield compared to a regular ink cartridge.

Choosing the right typeface or font can help you save ink

Another ink-saving technique you might want to explore is using ink-efficient typefaces for printing your documents. You might have heard about how, in 2014, a then 14-year old Pittsburgh student named Suvir Mirchandani estimated that the U.S. federal and state governments could save as much as $394 million a year if agencies printed documents using the Garamond typeface. While the accuracy of the savings figure has since been questioned by a number of observers, the fact remained that some typefaces and fonts can indeed help consumers save their printers’ precious juice. In this article, we’ll provide a few tips on how you can take advantage of them.

Use economical typefaces

If you need to use a sans-serif typeface, consider choosing a specific one called Ecofont. A sans-serif typeface is one that does not finish off with small jutting projections (called serifs) at the end of their strokes. When you hear “sans-serif,” think of typefaces “without serifs” such as Arial and Verdana, as opposed to variants like Times New Roman.

Developed by Spranq, a Dutch company founded in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Ecofont is based on the Vera Sans typeface family and features small holes along the length of the letters, numerals, and symbols.

Provided that the text is printed using standard sizes like 11 or 12 points, Ecofont’s holes won’t be visible on the printed document itself. Since these holes represent surface areas where ink is not used, consumers can expect to use 20% less ink compared to when they print using normal Vera Sans fonts.

There are other similar economical typefaces out there like the Ryman Eco, which is made up of thin lines. It’s a beautiful, minimalist typeface that uses an average of 33% less ink compared to standard typefaces and fonts.


Also consider Century Gothic

Another ink-efficient sans-serif typeface you can use is Century Gothic, which was favored by the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in 2010 to be their default typeface for all their printing needs. The school calculated that the typeface uses 30% less ink compared to Arial.

The Century Gothic typeface features thin letters, numerals, and symbols, which make it ideal for use by individuals and organizations that are hoping to achieve minimal printer ink usage. Its clean and simple design also makes it highly legible.

There’s a caveat, though: Century Gothic is wider than most fonts at the same point size, so the text output tends to occupy more room on documents. Try setting the typeface at a smaller point size to accommodate more text per page.

Use Garamond, Times New Roman, and Courier if you need a serif font

As for serif typefaces, consider ol’ reliable ones like Garamond and Times New Roman. These classic typefaces feature thin designs that also allow for minimal ink usage. The Garamond typeface family comprises a number of beautiful free fonts, some of which have even been used on popular written works like the Harry Potter novels. A Garamond font was also the subject of Mirchandani’s study.

If you’re looking for another easy-to-read serif typeface for use in your documents, also consider Courier, which not only produces thin letters, numerals, and symbols, but also make them come out large and wide. Take note, however, that this typeface is designed to resemble the output of a mechanical typewriter, so it might not necessarily meet your style or design requirements every time.

Printer ink can be expensive. That’s a given. However, there are clever ways to get around this price problem, and one of them is by choosing an ink-efficient typeface. This is especially advantageous for businesses or organizations that produce large volumes of printed documents. Nevertheless, even if you’re simply an individual trying to save a bit of ink for your home printer, those few hundred dollars of savings every year can eventually add up and make a difference.