back to article Free eco-friendly font saves ink and toner

Ecological consciousness is taking a leap forward with the release of Ecofont, a TrueType font designed to save ink and toner, by the Utrect-based Spranq creative communications agency Spranq achieved Ecofont's resource-saving magic by shooting the open-source Vera Sans font full of holes. As the company's website claimed: " …


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  1. Yes Me Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Er, no.

    1. I'm sure that on a laser or inkjet printer, this is going to look pale if printed using 'draft' quality. So in the end there'll be no saving since you'll have to beef up the quality setting.

    2. And will it scan or photo-copy OK?

    3. Oh, on screen it will use *more* energy because white takes more energy to display than black (which is, after all, absence of white). Oops.

  2. Pete "oranges" B.


    Looking over at the printout from my trusty IBM 5152 (an Epson rebrand IRC), the letters are full of holes, mostly between the little dots made by the pins hitting the paper :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Yes Me

    1. Depends what setting it's on; most default to "good quality" which uses more ink than is necessary anyway. Easiest way is to actually try it.

    2. At large sizes it'll be fine but at slightly smaller sizes (10pt and below) it'll be nasty. Then again 10pt laser print doesn't always copy *that* well either.

    3. On a CRT monitor, definitely that's the case.

    But on an LCD screen I'm not so sure that is true. A screen that is all black versus a screen that is off does have a visible hue to it on every LCD monitor I've ever seen, so the energy different there is actually going to be pretty minimal. (I'm sure there's a cue there for a Reg Hardware study somewhere)

    @ Retrotech

    Good old dot matrix printers. Not sure about the life expectancy of the ink ribbon though in terms of the number of pages versus a laser/inkjet printer.

  4. James Henstridge

    @Yes Me

    If you have an old CRT monitor, you might be right about black using less power.

    If you have an LCD, the backlight will be using power for both the black and white pixels (I am ignoring the backlight dimming features Intel has been developing on the assumption that you'll have both high and low intensity pixels close together with text). While there is an absence of light for black pixels, you'll see an increase in heat output.

    Furthermore, energy must be expended to change an LCD from its steady state. So you might find that black pixels actually use more power ...

  5. Bastiaan van Zwieten

    Very clever, but ...

    ... nobody noticed tat T'e Register 'as used anot'er trick 'ere to save some pixels?

    Come on guys, give Utrecht its 'h' back!

    ----> Mine's the one with 'eco-friendly' holes in it

  6. g e

    Errr but...

    The font is 'blacker' though to accomodate the holes in the first place, isn't it?? Looks like Arial Black

  7. jake Silver badge

    One word.


  8. Geoff Mackenzie


    That was a particularly eco-friendly post.

  9. GrahamT

    How to save 20% ink...

    Print 20% lighter, so using 20% less toner. Who needs special holey fonts?

    On an LCD the backlight stays constant and pixels are in various states of on, off or something between. As the backlight uses most of the power of an LCD screen, then reducing the power used by the pixels is irrelevant.

    P.S. Why are some of the icons missing in IE8?

  10. Andy ORourke

    txt spk saves d wrld

    mayB we shd comnC8 n txt spk, dat wA we cUd save NRG n d lng run by UzN less ink?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Saving the world...

    Why not use a pen and paper and then save all the electricity for the computer and the monitor...??

    You could save even more energy by writing in some wet sand with a stick.

    Not only is it carbon neutral, it's also 100% reusable - just add some water and smooth out the sand again.

    Might be a bit difficult to send memos to other people without a flat-bed truck.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Txt speek

    Bt txt spk tks d0nkys agz to rd so u spnd 4 tmz lngr rdn it.... so no savings there then

  13. Anonymous Coward

    A few "eco" tips...

    Remove all vowels from your printed docs.

    Print only every other word.

    Write it.

    Print it with a font full of holes.

    Come on, what next? monitors which only display certain pixels?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP Ink the second most expensive liquid in the world

    Since most Inkjets purposefully drop ink on to a sponge, to speed up the need for cartridge replacement, I think the holes are probably wasted.

  15. IanKRolfe

    Isn't this bunk?

    Not many laser printers I've come across, aside from the expensive ones, recycle unused toner. I thought you used the same amount of toner if the page was blank as all black - the toner that's not used just gets put in a disposal container/compartment in the cartridge?

  16. Doug Glass


    Throwing money into a white hole.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Better solution

    Why not turn the friggin' computer off and write the stuff down using a pen?

  18. Steven Jones

    More Ideas

    Save the planet - give up bold face. Also use san serriffe fonts, clearly a waste of ink and toner. Also, think carefully about punctuation. Is that exclamation mark really necessary and wouldn't a full stop be sufficient? Colons and semi-colons should only be used in moderation and never where less extravagant punction would do.

    Perhaps El Reg could do a survey on the most eco-friendly font. Something spindly and weey looking should do - and it would so much better fit the IT person's image.

  19. DPWDC

    @Jim Booth

    SHHH!!! You'll give TV manufacturers ideas! That pixels not dead, its saving its energy.

    (cue dead parot sketch)

  20. Kevin Fields

    Here's another opinion on Ecofont

    The editors and readers of LifeHacker reviewed this last month. Here's a link if you want to read it for yourself:

  21. Lotaresco
    Paris Hilton

    More Eco-Drivel

    From the same sort of mathematical illiterates who think TVs on standby are killing the planet.

    Paris, because even she's not dumb enough to fall for this.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "the smaller the fontsize, the lower the saving."

    Patent bullshit!

    What's going to use more ink: War and Peace printed at 72pt, or printed at 10pt? (And what about the paper? It doesn't just grow on trees!).

    Fractionally cutting down on printing is going to have a far bigger environmental impact than using this font.

    A noble sentiment, to be sure. But fairly negligible in impact and propounded by idiots.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Spranq...? S Pranq...? S = Es = Spanish for "it is".

    It is pranq.

    I hope.

  24. HFoster
    Thumb Down

    What a load of old


  25. Daniel B.

    Bigger font = more ink

    This only has an effect if you're printing Headline-sized stuff. Otherwise, you're better off using small fonts; you'll save on paper by doing so.

    Anyway, I remember about 15 years ago some experiments with vegetable-based ink; it was eco-friendly because it was easier to recycle paper when this ink was used.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    RE: More Eco-Drivel

    "From the same sort of mathematical illiterates who think TVs on standby are killing the planet."

    Well wasted electricity certainly at this point in our history is causing excessive coal/oil/gas etc to be burnt. That 'burning process' pumps nasty crap into the atmosphere, which has the effect of killing some living organisms. Dont believe, stick your gob over your car exhaust pipe whilst its running for 20mins, then come back and discuss about these poisons not killing things. ... I wont expect your return, but the good thing will be less wasted air being used by a thick muppet who probably could do with a brain implant.

  27. Neil
    Thumb Up

    Good Stuff

    Finally, a way to make regular 11pt text look blurry and indistinct while simultaneously making me look like I'm too cheap to splash out on toner! Much better than just switching my default font to #444444, obviously.

  28. KenBW2
    Paris Hilton

    @AC "the smaller the fontsize, the lower the saving."

    Perhaps that should read:

    the smaller the fontsize, the lower the saving*

    with this in the Small print:

    * When compared with Vera Sans of the same font size

    to sort the idiots from the rest of us.

    Paris? That's the sort of comment she'd make

  29. Michael Kean


    Aah, I remember those days - printing flyers on the old Epson Stylus 500, wanting to eek out the best value I could. For me, the solution was WordArt - rather than shoot holes in letters the have a handy hollow letter option and at medium size it was quite readable and cheap to print.

  30. Anonymous Coward


    betr way 2 save polr bers is txt all ur printouts innit

  31. HFoster


    yeh m8! btr val 4 mnE, even if u lk lk a ttl twt in da prcS.

    -The Beancounters

  32. Jacob Reid
    Paris Hilton

    Better idea

    Just print everything in 1point text.

    Or don't print it.

  33. JP Strauss

    Early April Fool's?

    Surely this is taking the p*ss?

  34. StillNoCouch
    Paris Hilton

    So am I wrong

    I printed this page so I could double-click on the hard copy.

    Wait, that didn't work ... I'll print another copy and let you know how it worked.

  35. Herby

    Wasted effort...

    Reminds me of the campaign a few years ago to have fire engines lime green, because that is where the human eye is most sensitive. Turns out they're right, the eye is more sensitive in the green part of the spectrum because IT NEEDS TO BE. All the greenery in the world, adn we humans need to be able to tell it apart. Not much in the world is naturally red, so that which is really stands out. That is why we use the color for warnings, stoplights, and fire engines.

    Another psuedo-science idiot.

    If you want to save paper/toner, DON'T print. Many years ago the "paperless office" was put forth. Now we print more things than ever before. If everyone went back to carbon paper and typewriters, we would save more than a silly font full of holes. Besides, it makes NO difference on some (thermal) printers.

  36. Alex
    Thumb Down

    @RE: More Eco-Drivel

    The "wasted energy" you're talking about is insignificant. Keeping your TV on standby helps prolong its lifespan. The more you turn it on and off the more the filtering caps wear down...guess what happens when they crap out? The whole lot gets scrapped instead of replacing the caps. Way to save the planet brainiac.

  37. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    looks like crap

    I installed and tested this font on my trusty old Win2k system, and TBH, it looks like total crap on the screen. At anything smaller than 16 point, the font is ugly. At 10 point, it's not really legible. When it goes to 48 or 72 points (where the holes can actually be seen), the holes aren't very regular in their shape or spacing and look like they were put there by a bored teenager between rounds of World Of Warcraft.

    However, the font does print out rather well - the holes are much more precise, and the font is legible down to 8 pts.

    So it prints fine, but nobody I know edits documents on a printer - most folks edit on a screen and this font is dog-ugly on the screen.

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