Save Money By Switching To Century Gothic

Century Gothic, a knockoff of classic sans serif fonts like Twentieth Century and Futura is one of the more stylish typefaces bundled with most Windows computers. And it turns out it’s also one of the cheapest to use. A study by found that using Century Gothic instead of fonts like Tahoma or Franklin Gothic can cut toner costs by as much as 31%.

The study included a group of popular Windows fonts, along with Ecofont, which was designed specifically to cut toner costs by punching holes in its letters.

Arial, reigning as the most popular font, was used as the “zero” measurement, against which nine other fonts were tested. The clear winner was Century Gothic, which returned 31% savings in both printers. For the average private user, printing approximately 25 pages per week, this will easily generate a net reduction of $20 in a year. A business-user, printing approximately 250 pages per week, could save $80. If your organization uses multiple printers, you can save hundreds of dollars per year doing nothing more than picking a more economical font.

Century Gothic is a modern font that comes standard with MS Windows. Surprisingly, it even beat Ecofont which was specifically designed with efficiency and cost in mind. For those who require a more “traditional” look, Times New Roman provides a good balance between style and savings.

The test didn’t include the much reviled Comic Sans, perhaps because anyone who uses that one regularly isn’t likely to be swayed by common-sense arguments about saving money.

Costs: Does Font Choice Make a Difference? []


Edit Your Comment

  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Wingdings FTW!!!

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Did anyone else figure out in middle school that using Courier New or OCR Extended made fulfilling that two-page requirement for book reports so much easier?

    • dreamfish says:
    • post_break says:

      The first week of college, my first class was english 101. My teacher blurted out “This paper should be at least 5 pages, and if you can’t handle that put it in courier for god sakes I don’t care.” My life would never be the same.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      My students did, as well as a hundred other such typographic shortcuts. Which is why I require all papers to be typed in 12 point Times New Roman, double-spaced, with 1″ margins.

      Yes, I check.

      • anewmachine615 says:

        One of my professors actually found there was another common workaround: you can actually change character spacing, making the distance between two letters larger. It generally takes a few samples (to ensure that it’s not merely a printer mistake) and a very, very precise measuring stick, but you can add inches to a long paper by adding tiny, tiny amounts to the character spacing. Obviously this is only really effective at a certain critical mass, but when you’re writing 20+ page papers it tends to have an impact, and is far less noticeable than other attempts to fluff the page count.

        This is why I do it legit: block quotes FTW.

        • apd09 says:

          It is called leading, that is the name of the space between letters

          • MauriceCallidice says:

            Actually I think anewmachine615 might be referring to kerning, the spacing of side-by-side letters. Leading is the vertical spacing of lines.

            • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

              Agreed, pretty sure that was what he was saying.

              Leading’s another good one, though. Adding one point to the leading is pretty hard to see and will save a line or two over five or six pages.

            • theycallmeGinger says:

              Font geek here. You’re on the right track, but it’s actually called tracking, because it is applied globally to entire words/lines, not to individual letters. Kerning is the distance between a letter and its adjacent letters — that tends to be embedded in the font.

      • veritybrown says:

        I tell my students that the page-length guidelines I give them are only estimates–I care more about whether a piece of writing accomplishes the task’s purpose than how many lines of text there are. I have seen long papers that suck, and short ones that accomplish their purpose in a near-perfect fashion.

        However, I do require Times-Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, purely for readability. Sans-serif fonts make my eyes hurt.

      • veritybrown says:

        I tell my students that the page-length guidelines I give them are only estimates–I care more about whether a piece of writing accomplishes the task’s purpose than how many lines of text there are. I have seen long papers that suck, and short ones that accomplish their purpose in a near-perfect fashion.

        However, I do require Times-Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, purely for readability. Sans-serif fonts make my eyes hurt.

        • Powerlurker says:

          When I was TAing a first year chemistry lab, I had students who were surprised that I would take off points for writing too much for their lab reports. It never ceases to amaze me how many words people can use to say so little. That having been said, I’ll always remember the words of my high school history teacher when asked how long papers should be: “It should be like the length of a woman’s skirt, short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject.”

        • crazydavythe1st says:

          keep fighting the good fight!

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        The best part is when you get to college as a business or engineering student, and they tell you everything you were taught about writing papers in high school was wrong, such as active vs. passive constructions and when to use them, page length, etc.

        Actually my most memorable frustrations with grade school stem from being taught how to “write” in the context of TAAS/TAKS testing. You HAD to write papers in a certain format that they gave you, they HAD to be a certain length, and ANY creativity was discouraged. For example, we had to write a (2-3 page!!) how-to paper on making a PB&J sandwich one time. I’m fairly certain that writing a long paper on making a PB&J sandwich fosters mediocrity in writing.

        Oh, and the other frustration – MLA documentation. I spent my entire high school career being told that MLA documentation was important and all that. Maybe my university is just strange, but EVERY writing assignment I’ve done in college has asked for APA documentation. In my first government class I took as a freshman, they didn’t specify what format to use, and I used MLA. I didn’t get points taken off, but the TA wrote “always use APA” at the top of the paper. I had never even encountered it before college.

        • veritybrown says:

          Documentation style is very much field-dependent. The main thing is to A) find out what style your teacher wants, and B) USE IT CORRECTLY! I teach MLA style, because that’s the style for my field, but it seems that no matter HOW many times I explain that the parenthetical citation *has* to point to the first word of the Works Cited entry for the source (gee, people, it’s not that hard–look at the first word of the source entry; use that word in the parenthetical citation!), I still get people making up their own illogical, inconsistent methods to determine what goes in the parentheses! *tears hair*

    • ecwis says:

      Palatino Linotype is my new favorite.

    • slim150 says:

      Yup thats because courier is a fixed length font. the amount of space an “i” takes up is the same width as a ‘W’

    • dohtem says:

      And when professors would insist on Times New Roman, I’d switch to Georgia. Way more legible and uses a bit more space than TNR.

    • Laughing-man says:

      I used Times New Roman 13.5 font. It’s supremely subtle, but it can shave 2-3 sentences (more if double-spaced) of utter B.S. filter.

    • P_Smith says:

      I like Courier New not because of spacing, but because I grew up with typewriters. No, I’m not that old.

      There’s something about the look of typed letters that makes it more personal and personable, like the person is writing specifically to you.

  3. duxup says:

    Bah, no matter what my printer will run out of ink seemingly regardless of use.

    • kabamm says:

      If it’s an ink-jet, that’s true. Those cartridges last three months whether you use them or not. Switch to a laser or LCD printer for personal use and have the professionals do the color.

      • RTWinter says:

        I have a second-hand inkjet that has a serial port on the back. Black ink is still going strong.

      • Awjvail says:

        what the hell is an LCD printer?

        • kabamm says:

          LED – typo, sorry – wish there was an edit button. Similar to a laser printer. OKIDATA and Canon, etc, make them.

    • edosan says:

      Fun fact: ink, consisting mostly of liquid, can evaporate.

  4. Tvhargon says:

    Couldn’t you just the light version of any font? Most typefaces have light versions.

  5. dreamfish says:

    Just so long as it isn’t Times New Roman. I’m afraid I’ve become somewhat prejudiced when I see documents using that over-exposed font as I immediately assume the content, and by extension the author, are dull and unoriginal and not worth reading.

    • Short_Circuit_City says:

      Conversely, when people give me documents in bizarre ‘non-standard’ fonts that aren’t always easily readable I assume the content, and by extension the author, are lazy and overcompensating for failing to do the work/project asked. I too, find this not worth reading.

      • Cameraman says:


      • Fidget says:

        Amen. TA’d someone who turned things in in freaking Papyrus. You do not want to be the person whose paper only stands out because of the font. Any default font is good, but how sad is it to give the impression that you wasted time picking the perfect font for your intro to literature paper?

        • oloranya says:

          Among my group of friends in college, it was a GOOD thing to be the one who speint hours on the typography of their english/history/whatever papers… but we’re all graphic designers, at a liberal arts college :)

      • TechnoDestructo says:


      • Bob says:


    • veritybrown says:

      That’s a really weird (and rather elitest) sort of prejudice. I like Times-Roman because it is easy on my eyes. Maybe I’m just too old-school for the likes of you.

    • Doubts42 says:

      By converse i assume that a person who spends more than 10 seconds a year thinking about fonts is dull and unimaginative and is desperately trying to fill the lonely hours of his sad existence.

  6. Baccus83 says:

    As a graphics professional, I’d caution against using Century Gothic for large blocks of text. It’s first and foremost a design font, which means it’s great for headers, but gets less and less easy to read the smaller and more packed-together it is.

    • Baccus83 says:

      Also, you might consider that Century Gothic’s kerning is rather wide, meaning that whatever you save in ink usage you’ll end up paying for in paper costs.

      • PsiCop says:

        True. It might be possible to compensate for that by reducing the tracking (or “character spacing”). But that in turn might cause a little crowding and thus reduce readability too.

        Moral of the story: You just can’t win. ;)

    • Jimmy60 says:

      I agree. As a sans serif font it would be completely unsuitable for a block of text. Sans serif is ok on a computer screen but when printed it is hard to read. That’s why we have serif fonts.

      Gutenburg figured this out and it was all pretty well figured out until Word Processors came along and threw it all out the window. I’ve seen large documents where the body of text was in Comic MS.

      I cried.

  7. IceMax says:

    Franklin Gothic Book is my go to font for just about everything, ink efficiency be damned!

  8. Xeos says:

    You know what’s green? Going paperless.

  9. catsinmo says:

    This was in the news weeks ago. Remember that some fonts may be wider and result in more paper usage. Save on ink, pay more for paper.

  10. Jozef says:

    My printer still has the “Economic” mode for less toner use. That’s more than enough savings for me.

  11. admiral_stabbin says:

    I jst use lss ltrs 2 sv nk.

  12. Vanilla5 says:

    IKEA did just this, what, about a year ago? Their custom typeface was rather expensive.

    Also, for the love of God, please don’t use Comic Sans. I cringe – CRINGE when I see it.

  13. kabamm says:

    Come on – Comic Sans is a handsome typeface – that’s why it’s become cliche – because everyone was using it for everything.

    • Vanilla5 says:

      You’re right – Comic Sans is definitely a nice-looking typeface. But since I was using it for everything in the 10th grade, I can’t take it seriously when I see it on some fliers – unless it’s for a yardsale or something. But I saw it for a big event promotion on a fancy-looking card and was like, “Seriously??”

    • redskull says:

      That’s what I was thinking. Do people hate it because hating it’s become fashionable, or is it really that unbearable to look at?

      • Fidget says:

        By association. There is a type of person who uses Comic Sans, and they’re usually the person sending you 50 chain e-mails with angels and smilies as punctuation.

    • sven.kirk says:

      Didn’t the creator of Comic Sans font even hate the font?

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        My friend works for Microsoft and has said that they sometimes regret adding Comic Sans to the standard font set years ago. It’s not like they can remove it now – it’s so widely used it would cause an uproar and rendering problems since many websites and PDF documents don’t embed it, assuming it will be on the client system.

        My girlfriend is a teacher – for some reason, the education industry LOVES the font. Schools will send home pages of text, all in Comic Sans. It doesn’t look handwritten. It doesn’t look like a kid wrote it. It looks bad, and it harder to read than other sans serif fonts.

        People, for the love of god, DON’T USE COMIC SANS. I die a little inside whenever I see it.

        • Powerlurker says:

          The only excuse for using Comic Sans is filling speech balloons (the original reason for the font’s existence).

    • Oddfool says:

      Reminds me of this web comic.

      Discusses an underlying use for the font.

    • veritybrown says:

      Comic Sans *is* a very nice typeface. The problem is that its personality (which is extremely, almost painfully cheerful) is often *completely* unsuited to the message that the user is trying to convey. After enough of that kind of mis-usage, it becomes a bad joke.

  14. bsh0544 says:

    Better plan: print less shit. Chances are you don’t need to print most of it.

    • MMD says:

      Amen. There’s a common printer on my floor at work and when I go to pick things up from it, I inevitably wade through a stack of the emails one of my coworkers has printed. She must print every single freaking email she gets…WHY?! What a waste…

  15. leoneomeo says:
  16. RxDude says:

    And use semicolons instead of colons.

    • P_Smith says:

      Use semicolons because it means fewer capital letters; larger letters require more ink.

  17. mrchuck85 says:

    This probably has no value to large institutions that lease their printers.

    Consumables (IE: toner) are included in the lease of the machine – and you pay per page. It costs the same to print a pure black page IE: 100% coverage – as it would to print a document. Typically BW costs are around half a cent or less per page.

  18. humphrmi says:

    Ecofont isn’t even available yet…

    … and when it is, it looks like you’ll have to pay for it.

  19. adrew says:

    The best way to save money on printing is to get an old black-and-white laser printer. I have a 10-year-old Lexmark E310 that takes a $25 refurb’d toner cartridge every two years or ~5000 pages. Blows ink jets out of the water.

    For printers at work, spend a little more to begin with and your cost per page will be significantly less. I have a $2000 Ricoh 8200 that takes a giant tub of toner (like a copier) that lasts for 40,000 pages. The bulk toner costs $44 per tub.

    • quail says:

      Got to agree with the B & W laser printer argument. Much cheaper in the long run. Yes, there’s the initial cost unless you find a good used unit somewhere. But it saves money. And it gives fewer headaches.

      (I still think planned obsolescence is designed into every modern inkjet printer. Everyone of them I’ve had the misfortune to know since the turn of millennium seemed to have issues after 3 years. Thankfully these have been friend’s printers. I never regret going laser and never looking back.)

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        Even expensive color lasers have a hard time printing high quality photos, which is the majority of the printing at my house.

        • Jimmy60 says:

          Photo printing is an area where ink-jet really delivers. My Canon photo printer blows the local photo labs away for quality. I also use nicer paper which helps. Life expectancy with ink-jet is the same as emulsion based printing. Life expectancy is all about the paper. Acid free rag paper with pigmented ink has a life expectancy of 125 years. Dye based inks, 100 years, which is the same as emulsion based printing on a similar quality paper. Your local Wal Mart lab uses the cheapest resin coated paper they can buy. Don’t count on those prints lasting.

          Otherwise, unless color is important then a monochrome laser is the way to go. Lower cost per page. Faster, quieter, capable of large print jobs and they don’t dry out from lack of use.

          • Noir says:

            You can’t be serious, inkjet catridges are pigment + water. Me thinks your photolab is crappier than the rest, maybe swictching places or running away from those instant kiosks would help?

        • Powerlurker says:

          It’s cheaper to print your photos at CVS/Target/WalMart, or one of the internet places like SnapFish and Kodak gallery. They’ll also make your prints with equipment much better than your inkjet (unless you happen to have a $1000+ professional printer).

        • adrew says:

          They are getting much, much better. We bought a Ricoh SP 811 DN (40 PPM duplexing 11×17 color laser) at work a few years ago and have been blown away by its quality.

          Photos look excellent even when printed on cheap, uncoated card stock. It doesn’t have the continuous-tone look of a good multicolor inkjet, but it has a very fine halftone screen (like 175+) that looks like high-quality offset lithography. A set of four new toner cartridges does cost $550, but they last for 15k pages (color) and 20k pages (black).

    • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

      My wife’s school was throwing out a LaserJet5 with a network interface card and 6 brand new toner cartridges, all because the printer would jam when pulling from the bottom tray. They were buying a new printer and they no longer had any LJ5s, which is why they were tossing them as well.

      I’ve had it for 4 years now, still have 4 cartridges left, and fixed the little jamming issue with some tweezers. The thing just won’t die.

  20. rockasocky says:

    Darnit Consumerist, this is exactly 12 hours too late! I was just pondering how to print out my study outlines with the meager amount of ink I had left. I ended up going with grey font, which hurt my eyes >_

  21. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Thanks, Consumerist, for breaking an almost 2-week old story. I read this on some newsfeed about that long ago. Personally, I’ll stick with Helvetica as my typeface of choice. And to hell with everyone who believes Arial is “good enough.”

    • solipsistnation says:

      AMEN. Preach it, brother. Arial is an awful, awful crime against design. Helvetica FTW.

      • kabamm says:

        Arial is a cheap knock-off of Helvetica. Microsoft didn’t want to pay the licensing.

  22. proficiovera says:
  23. P_Smith says:

    I couldn’t care less about the considerations of ink. (No, I do care about the environment and I’m not frivolous with money.)

    I just like the fact that the lower case “a” and “g” are in the shape that people actually write, although I don’t like the lower case “r” for the same reason.

  24. FrankReality says:

    Well, since I print very little, I tend to use fonts and sizes that are easily read on my screen. I like relatively simple fonts like Verdana, Tahoma and Helvetica – not necessarily in that order.

    If you really want to save money – just don’t print.

    But yes, this article has been out more than a few weeks now. Better late than never.

  25. Joseph S Ragman says:

    Clearview. If it’s good enough for freeway signs in my state, it’s good enough for me.

  26. lexus says:

    May be you guys should read this:

    Appears that Ecofont Century Gothic IS SAVING MORE than Century Gothic!!

  27. Cyniconvention says:

    Awesome. This is my second favorite font, besides Timeless.

  28. SilentAgenger says:

    How ’bout a little love for Hobo, Brush Script and Spumoni?

  29. Ragman says:

    I just save on printing costs by going to softcopy. CutePDF printer driver FTW!

    The only writing class I’ve ever enjoyed was my Engineering writing/communications class. The whole essence of the class was to get to the point and use words that your target audience actually understood. Total opposite from my English classes that didn’t care what you wrote, only that it was long enough and that your references had their anal hairs correctly lined and spaced.

    I always ended up with reference material that didn’t fit the examples and the prof would only give me vague guidance. I didn’t realize until too late that they never actually checked the biblio material listed and I should have just put them in one of the listed example formats.

  30. notfred says:

    I agree with the laser printer users. Much less hassle. My printer is cheaper than a replacement cartridge.
    If you want to print with less ink, just apply a halftone screen to make everything dark gray instead of black. For inkjet, just setting the colour to dark gray will only use a different (and probably more expensive on a 4-colour printer) combination of inks. For laser, setting the colour to dark gray will suffice.

  31. ArgusRun says:

    What about Papyrus? I freakin hate Papyrus.

  32. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    I typed all my papers in either Appleworks or Wordperfect and had a dot matrix printer.

    We used to piss off the teachers by stealing the Function Key overlays.