A Free, Easy Way to Make Your Printer Cartridge Last Longer

I like hard copies. If I were more representative of my generation, I’d probably read all of my news online and power up an eBook-reading device when I wanted to delve into a novel. (I’d also probably be more familiar with the lingo so that last sentence wouldn’t sound so stilted.) But I love opening the newspaper in the morning, and folding it just so on the subway so I don’t bump my fellow passengers with my elbows. I always have magazines around the house. And chances are if I’m working on a story, I’ll print it out to edit it.

Luckily, I can recycle the newspapers, magazines, and printer paper. And when I run out of ink and buy new printer cartridges, HP includes a pre-paid, addressed envelope so I can send my empties back for recycling. Thanks to Heidi Devos, our director of production and operations, I just learned of a new way to conserve resources: ecofont.

Ecofont is a font, like Times New Roman or Arial, based on the Vera Sans, an Open Source letter. What makes it eco is that parts of the letter have been omitted.

From the Ecofont website:

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. Free to download, free to use.

I was intrigued, but a little skeptical. Wouldn’t the font look weird or be hard to read? So I downloaded it, which took about a minute, and tested it. Here’s what the font looks like at different sizes:

It looks strange when the letters are big, but how often do you use 20-point font? For everyday use, I’m hooked.

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