Sustainability is the future. The ability to try to make well-designed things that help to save our planet could be considered a superpower. We have sustainable books, phones, cups, bags, and now… fonts.
Sustainable fonts are not new. Spranq, a Dutch company, released the Ecofont family starting in 2008. They have won numerous awards for the fonts’ ability to save ink by including holes in the letterforms. These were created to help save governments money after they had been testing which fonts actually cost less to print. This is a fine idea considering ink costs so much and the production of ink cartridges is terrible for the environment.
The issue lies in the usability of the Ecofont family. They are times when a font’s aesthetic appearance isn’t paramount but when you want something sustainable, as well as beautiful, these fonts fall flat. That is why the ad agency Grey London along with the stationary brand Ryman and the font foundry Monotype have teamed up to make a gorgeous, sustainable, and free font for the masses to produce Ryman Eco.
The Ryman Eco font was designed to save about 30 percent more ink compared to Arial. By having lines in the middle of the letterforms the bleed from the ink makes the font readable at sizes as small as 8 point. Grey believes that this font could save over 490 million ink cartridges and 15 million barrels of oil. That is a very large claim to make without any real documentation to back it up. There is no timeframe provided in which these numbers could be accomplished by, nor is there a metric to truly measure this usage against.
Ryman will get plenty publicity by releasing this font, meaning that this is not as philanthropic as it may seem to be. They are encouraging people to save the planet by making this their default, promoting less consumption, while still being dedicated to the Ryman brand. The Ryman font will now be on everyone’s mind just as Garamond and Times New Roman are.
Without any real data, just some numbers thrown at consumers, it is hard to truly believe that this could work as well they say. Maybe this campaign, which it really is, could lead to some actual beautiful and sustainable fonts with real data to back them up. It is definitely an interesting way to approach sustainability.
The font is downloadable here.