Wednesday, July 11, 2007

EverGreen Font Reduces Supplies Usage

(This post also appears in the July 2007 print edition of The Hard Copy Observer.)

GreenPrint, with the software printing utility of the same name, continuing its effort to save trees by reducing output from the world's printers, recently introduced a new screen and printer font. The company says the font, EverGreen, includes characters "designed to allow more words ... on each printed page without compromising readability… [reducing]… paper use by 15–20 percent." Priced at $10 and available from the company’s Web site, the font is perfectly readable. But some font industry veterans may say it lacks the elegance of the industry’s classic typefaces. And market acceptance? Press and customers have rallied around the GreenPrint utility's benefits (e.g. eliminating printing unnecessary pages from Web browsers) which may be more visible and thus more compelling to customers than savings based on using the new font.

On EverGreen's ability to address a customer's need to reduce printer supplies waste, GreenPrint CEO Hayden Hamilton says, "While no one is … saying 'If only someone would design a font that allowed me to reduce paper use,' people constantly complain about the amount of paper waste in home and office printing." Hamilton notes the anticipated 'paperless society' has moved in the opposite direction, so EverGreen was developed to switch patterns back towards conservation. Hamilton doesn’t deny that GreenPrint will challenge the sensibilities of the entrenched "old guard" of the font world. "In a way, that is exactly what we were hoping to do. We are certainly not trying to offend anyone, but we are hoping to shake things up a bit. Many of these [existing] fonts were designed a long, long time ago when our priorities as a society were very different. No one recycled, waste didn’t have the same stigma, and conservation as a philosophy was rare. If we were all still driving the cars that were designed fifty years ago, we’d be going through two to three times as much gasoline as we are today, and emissions would be 90 to 95 percent higher."

The font establishment’s response? "While the marketing of this font as 'green,' and the importance of environmental concerns are much appreciated, frankly there are many fonts that meet this need, examples of which are Letter Gothic and Arial Narrow," says Rod Acosta, product marketing manager of Printer Imaging for Monotype Imaging. "The key features of such a font are thin upright stems in characters, [which] saves ink and toner and condenses spacing, [which] shortens line length and saves paper. Also, the example of the font I saw seemed to be in need of a bit more hinting on the diagonal stems and rounds especially if used at text sizes at 300 dpi. That said, it’s a pleasant design overall, with the small exception of that unusual diagonal cross bar in the uppercase T, and worthy of consideration by anyone interested in pursuing green or plain economical goals."

The future? Hamilton promises more ideas like this, leading the company he founded on its visionary path. Elise Burke, GreenPrint's communications director, says printing and imaging customers and industry press have a positive reaction to green-oriented print products. She sees enormous unmet needs the company will continue to fill. "With this year’s Earth Day announcements from major firms like HP and Xerox, I expect that other vendors will continue to respond in kind."


Jim Lyons said...

Sphere brings us font discussions from outside the printer world:

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