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A New Environmentally Friendly Font

To help cut our carbon footprints, the folks at Spranq have developed a new Ecofont that reduces the use of ink by 20%.  It’s environmentally friendly and it’s free.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 13-08-2009

As per the article in this month’s National Geographic, designer Alexander Kraaij has created Ecofont, an environmentally friendly font that reduces the amount of ink used for printing.

It's like a font with holes.  Kraaij, together with Spranq’s co-owner Gerjon Zomer and the rest of the team experimented with various font shapes and weights to see how much of a letter could be removed without impacting readability on the screen or in print.

“Our first idea was to use stripes,” Kraaij says.  “But that wasn't readable when printed.  Then we experimented with triangles and stars. We did a lot of testing and redesigning in the process.”
In the end, it was small circles that achieved the best results.  It all means that rather than just a bold line, the line contains lots of tiny holes.  Printed, the holes are indiscernible at font size 9 and 10 and only become visible when the font size increases past 12.

The idea for creating and environmentally friendly font came after a relative of Zomer’s asked him to try to create a font that saved ink.  “Spranq develops a lot of creative concepts,” Kraaij says.  “But we also allocate budgets for our own non-profit making projects. This was one of them.”

Ecofont is free to download. And it is free to use.  Currently, more than one million people have downloaded the typeface.

“And we have received a few complaints about screen readability and that the font doesn’t work for off-set prints,” says Kraaij. “That is because brochures and flyers use a different printing technique that distort the holes a little bit”

The free Ecofont is best for home and office prints.  To extend its usability, Spranq has released Ecofont II, a professional package that is not a typeface but an application that works in Microsoft Office and can be used with different fonts.  It enables companies to use their house-style font with the Ecofont hole technique.

“We developed the whole Ecofont professional application and it required a lot of work,” Kraaij says.  “So for that we do charge a small license fee, and businesses do profit from it financially because they end up saving money on ink and toner.”

Images: main – the Ecofont, Alexander Kraaij, Gerjon Zomer.

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