Ecofont evaluation?

joevdb's picture

Hi All:

It has been a LONG time since I checked in. Glad to see the old gang at it still.

I've been asked to evaluate Ecofont, and am coming up short with actual data, or even anyone saying they use it.

My thought is it's gimmicky, and the same thing could be accomplished much more easily by:
Printing 25% fewer pages
Writing 25% fewer words
Make the font size 25% smaller
Use lightweight fonts, Don’t use bold anything.
Set your font fill color to a 75% black.

But I need to give a fair assessment to well-intentioned people. Does anyone have even anecdotal experience to share?

Thanks all,


Chris Dean's picture

In order to measure it's effectiveness you first need to (get your client to) define what they mean by "effective." Until then, you're chasing your client's tail.

And if you are looking for data, you'll need to conduct some sort of experiment, be it laboratory or online questionnaire. In this instance your independent variable (the one you change) is looking like typeface, and other aspects of type.

The roadblock you're coming up is with the dependent variable (what you measure) which your client has simply defined as "effectiveness." This could mean comprehension, time, visual search, fatigue, memory, aesthetic appeal &c.

Once that has been established you'll need to design an experiment which uses these variables. If you want reliable data then you will need to do things such as control your population, make sure everything is counterbalanced &c.

Lastly, you'll need to statistically analyze your data to see if your manipulations had a significant (outside the possibility of random chance) effect (pun intended).

Short answer, collaborate with a cognitive psychologist from your local university (experimental, not clinical) with a background in reading comprehension. You may get lucky and find a masters or PhD student who will make this a project. This is not an easy task, but I applaud the people of ecofont for looking at it this way. And their cause.

russellm's picture

Eco Font is a silly, green-washed idea.

As you suggests, setting the fill colour to 75% accomplishes the same thing and still lets you use any font you like, and as someone else suggested in another thread about this, it takes a certain amount of energy to render all those little holes.

Micha Mirck's picture

You can find (older) info here:

And on can read the following;
...Ecofont B.V. collaborates with the owner or licensor of a font. We have received permission for the processing of a font into an Ecofont font and its use in Ecofont.
...If you use Ecofont, we ensure that you have permission to use the Ecofont fonts. You are yourself responsible for possessing the correct licences for the font on which the Eco variant is based (the source font), e.g. Arial, Times New Roman or Verdana.

This means that Ecofont must be one of the few companies in the World that is allowed to modify fonts like Arial.

Gerjon Zomer's picture

I seldom join a discussion on the Ecofont, but this forum topic triggerd my attention. In november 2008 SPRANQ creative communications, the Netherlands released the free Ecofont, that shows that ink saving holes can be made in glyphs while maintaining readability of the printed text. The Free version is no more than a way to show the principle. It does work, but it has some drawbacks.

Our 'bigger plan': to apply the ink saving holes to widely used typefaces. Users will no longer need an (extra) typeface, but can use their normal fonts and print their text using less ink. For some typefaces, the ink savings (corpssize 10) add up to a mere 45%.

The professional software is available for both home and business use. Please note that the Ecofont solution is a printing solution and not made/meant for offset.

Micha's analysis is correct; we do have the right permissions to do so, but only so under strict regulations.


Gerjon Zomer
Co-owner SPRANQ / manager Ecofont

aluminum's picture

I thought it was a clever parody.


joevdb's picture

Thanks all, and especially Gerjon Zomer, for answering the query. I do appreciate the multi-user licensing of a local-printing solution. For large enterprises, it could be a savings that gets noticed.

Si_Daniels's picture

From the older thread - this chap does the math...

His answer, use almost any serif font to save more ink than the ecofont.

blank's picture


Bert Vanderveen's picture

A Dutch magazine’s art director (Piet Schreuders for VPRO Gids) just responded to a readers' question (why not use Ecofont throughout, instead of once) and his answer is (translating/paraphrasing):

Over my dead body.
- It is ugly
- It is a sans and not usable for textmaterial
- It is less economic (less words per page than a normal typeface)
- Using holes in a glyph only works with bolder type. It is easier to save ink by using normal widths
- Ecofonts apparantly was developed for office use. Where toner and ink are best saved by printing less (which also saves paper)
- The Eco-font is, in short, a beautiful example of fashionable humbug.

blank's picture

I wonder if the designers of Ecofont have actually done any testing to see if Ecofont actually results in significant ink in comparison to Vera when both are used to print the same text at text sizes.

hrant's picture

I'm sorry, but what kind of tardfest is this?!
If you wanna save ink, not to mention electricity, don't cover Ecofont!


christianpeixoto's picture

I wonder if there's any serious scientific study on Ecofont use. I made an evaluation similar to, but I scanned all the papers to evaluate the reading, too. In my study, Ecofont was the best of all 4 (Verdana, Arial, Times New Roman).

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