You probably don't ever think about it, but there's a lot of thought and science that goes into the design of what you read. The way the individual letters are formed into fonts is carefully designed to make the printed words easier to read, and the pitch, or size of the font, adds legibility and - when needed - emphasis to the text. The average word-processing or graphics program comes with a bazillion different fonts* in all sorts of styles to help you express your thoughts in exactly the right way. Blogger allows you seven different fonts (Arial, Courier, Georgia, Helvetica, Times, Trebuchet, and Verdana), and I imagine there's a way to use lots of others for those smarter at html coding than I.
But in addition to style, there's an economic aspect to fonts that most of us never think about. You already know that printer ink is really expensive ... over $4,000 per gallon, according to this New York Times article from back in 2009. But did you know that the font you select can have a great impact on your ink usage?
CNN recently reported on a study done by 14 year-old Pennsylvania middle school student Suvir Mirchandani for a science fair project. Mirchandani's analysis revealed that by changing the default font his school district used in its documents from Times New Roman to Garamond, which has thinner strokes, the district could reduce its consumption of printer ink by 24%, saving as much as $21,000 annually. Here's a sample that shows the difference between the two fonts, both presented in the same pitch without bolding or other enhancement:
As far as I can tell, the difference in legibility between the two is negligible, and it's clear that the Garamond font requires less of that $4,000-per-gallon ink. I have already changed the default font that I use on my personal documents to Garamond, although anything work-related I do at home will still need to used good old Air Staff-approved Times New Roman, 12-pitch ... at least until the leadership realizes that printer ink is a lot more expensive than jet fuel.
Have a good day. Choose your fonts carefully. More thoughts tomorrow.
* Do you suppose that the cheese of choice for printers and typesetters is fontina?