Cut printing costs: use Century Gothic

Century Gothic T-shirts

A test conducted by compared ink consumption for different fonts. Century Gothic was found to use 30% less ink than Arial, used as a benchmark, and less even than Ecofont, designed with low consumption in mind.

I use Century Gothic a lot as I like fonts with open “a” counters. For my old logo, my designer chose Avant Garde, which I installed on my Mac to keep my business documents consistent with the logo. However, I found Avant Garde hard on the eye for large bodies of text. Century Gothic is similar in appearance but in my view more readable. So for a time Century Gothic was (and still is, for some texts) my font of choice for business and marketing letters.

Ink consumption by a given font depends mainly on the thickness of its lines. Century Gothic, its slender lines notwithstanding, is a wide font, so takes up more space and could consume more paper. The simple solution is to reduce your character size (10 is comfortable).

As Dinesh Ramde reports for Associated Press, some font experts give Century Gothic a lower readability score than Times New Roman or Arial. It’s intended for limited blocks (titles and headlines, for example) rather than extended bodies of text. In my experience it may be less readable but is by no means unreadable. I much prefer it to Arial. All things being equal, my favourite working font is Verdana, which comes 5th in’s consumption/cost table, shown below:

The following tips could help you save on printing and paper costs:

  • print in draft mode when you can
  • use both sides of the page
  • if you can’t/don’t print on both sides, keep any printouts you don’t need and re-use for future drafts
  • use the “print preview” function. If some of your pages have unnecessary text or just 1 or 2 lines, edit or adjust the line-spacing/font size accordingly.
  • “go to” the last page of your document. Again, if it’s only got 2 or 3 lines of text, tweak or edit. Reducing font size by half a point, from 11 to 10.5, for example, may be enough to reduce your page count
  • make sure you’re not printing pages with useless text such as a copyright line or lengthy footer/header text
  • don’t print unless you need to – especially emails.

But. If you’re a writer, editor or translator, then the most reliable quality-check is to print out and read your text on paper before finalising and delivering to your publisher or client or posting on your web site. It’s the best way to pick up typos, clunky structure, spelling errors, repetitions and simple bad writing.

Keep your environmental conscience clear by choosing a suitable font and character size and reprinting on/recycling your paper.

Photo courtesy of Andreas Brændhaugen.

By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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