Don’t change your typeface. Just write less.

May 8, 2014

I noticed that advertising agency Grey and Rymans (the stationery people) have teamed up to launch an eco typeface. Which is nice. (Probably best to not mention that a Dutch company, Spranq, has been doing this since 2008. Their solution is to, basically, put holes in the font to reduce the amount of ink used.)

The Ryman version

The Ryman version

The Spranq version

The Spranq version

It’s a lovely idea – to reduce waste by being as efficient as possible.
Sadly, it’s likely to have as much impact as asking designers to only use 150gsm card for business cards, or only print on newsprint for mailings. (i.e. not much.)
It also doesn’t really have any impact unless you’re printing larger sizes. At the usual 12-point size it fills in and doesn’t really save you any ink.

How dull a world where we only use one typeface? It’s akin to saying that art is a waste of money. Who wants to live in a world with no imagination and inspiration?

It’s a nice piece of publicity, and I’m sure the theory behind it is sound.
But the only way to properly engage with your audience and not be responsible for waste is to never write more than you need to.
Be brief and your audience will love you.
Your effectiveness will improve.
And so the circle carries on.
“Simplify, simplify, simplify.” as Henry David Thoreau put it.
Or, as I prefer it:
“Simplify.”

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