You may have seen the story recently about high schoolers who calculated that the US government could save as much as $400 million dollars by switching from Times New Roman to Garamond, because the latter used so much less ink due to its thinner lines. Appealing as this proposal might be, it had some flaws to do with legibility (since 12 point Garamond is really 15% smaller than 12 point Times New Roman, therefore harder to read) and government printing costs have more to do with per page contracts with outside vendors than direct ink purchases. That said, the basic idea is sound, as shown by the case of Matthew Carter’s Bell Centennial, which made mid-70s phone books more legible while cutting ink costs.
In the wake of this news, Ryman Eco, a free font designed to reduce ink use by 33% has just been offered to the public in order to cut environmental waste and printing costs. To my amateur’s eye, it resembles Helvetica in outline, but built with fine lines that “take advantage of how ink bleeds on paper“. At a small size, it appears solid. Scaled up, the lines create a dynamic look.
>>[Ryman-eco creator and Monotype Director Dan]Rhatigan says that the key with Ryman Eco was to find the perfect balance between saving ink, legibility and esthetics, which he did by looking at how our eyes and brains compensate by filling in ‘missing’ areas of what we see.<<
In the stacks:
Design futuring : sustainability, ethics, and new practice / Tony Fry – NK1510 .F77 2009
20th-Century type / written by Lewis Blackwell – Z250.A2 B57 2004
Getting it printed : how to work with printers and graphic arts services to assure quality, stay on schedule and control costs / Mark Beach & Eric Kenly. -Z243.U5 B4 1999
Green graphic design / Brian Dougherty ; with Celery Design Collaborative – NC997 .D64 2008
Eco design : the sourcebook / Alastair Fuad-Luke. – TS171.4 .F83 2002