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Sustainable fonts require the least amount of energy to load. Using one also allows one to process more even when internet speeds are low.

Sustainable fonts require the least amount of energy to load. Using one also allows one to process more even when internet speeds are low. Is Ryman Eco one of them?

It’s only been an exact week since we discussed the ‘most eco-friendly’ ad campaign. And we vaguely remember a 14-year-old from a Pittsburgh-area middle school challenging the government to use the Garamond font in official communication to save up to $136 million each year. Find the original study here. So, clearly the sustainability debate has reached the doors of design. Supporters and naysayers abound, as is the case with Ryman Eco, whose creators claim it can reduce ink usage by 33 per cent.

“Ink is only about 15 percent of the total carbon footprint of a printed page. Despite the rise of e-everything, paper use is prodigious in the United States. Americans still use an average of 10,000 sheets of office paper per year, which is a lot.”

Grey London and UK’s Ryman Stationery released Ryman Eco, a free typeface available to all that’s specifically designed to use the least amount of ink possible while retaining a beautiful design sensibility. The project was born of an internal initiative at Grey London that encourages its employees to approach every brief with the question: How can this project create social good?

To put into context how great an effect changing the default printer font can have, consider that almost 1.5 billion printer cartridges are sold globally each year, which contain toxic, oil-intensive, and largely non-biodegradable materials that can take cover 1,000 years to break down. Ryman Eco uses an average 33% less ink than standard fonts including Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, and Verdana and 27% less ink than the leading sustainable font. Simply switching Ryman Eco when printing would save over 490 million ink cartridges and nearly 15 million barrels of oil—equivalent to 6.5 million tons of CO2 emissions a year, according to Grey London.

A few years ago, industry giant Adobe had tried something similar. It launched something called LeanPrint, a software-only effort to squeeze efficiency with little effort on behalf of the user. Essentially, LeanPrint was designed to “optimize paper and toner usage” by cutting out straggling pages with only a few lines on them, among other features. When selecting a font for web-based applications, we need to consider how much energy is consumed in order to load that font. There are a couple of ways that a font can impact the amount of energy – think HTTP requests and page weight.

Read more on how Ryman Eco was created here. And if you want a case for eco-friendly fonts not helping to save the the planet, head here.

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