Tag Archives: printing

Dump Arial. Garamond is Cheaper and Less Dull

ArialMTsp.svgNot only is the Arial font dreadfully sleep-inducing — most corporate Powerpoint presentations live and breathe Arial — it’s expensive. Print a document suffused with Arial and its variants and it will cost you more in expensive ink. So, jettison Arial for some sleeker typefaces like Century Gothic or Garamond; besides, they’re prettier too!

A fascinating body of research by an 8th-grader (14 years old) from Pittsburgh shows that the U.S. government could save around $400 million per year by moving away from Arial to a thinner, less thirsty typeface. Interestingly enough, researchers have also found that readers tend to retain more from documents set in more esoteric fonts versus simple typefaces such as Arial and Helvetica.

From the Guardian:

In what can only be described as an impressive piece of research, a Pittsburgh schoolboy has calculated that the US state and federal governments could save getting on for $400m (£240m) a year by changing the typeface they use for printed documents.

Shocked by the number of teacher’s handouts he was getting at his new school, 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani – having established that ink represents up to 60% of the cost of a printed page and is, ounce for ounce, twice as expensive as Chanel No 5 – embarked on a cost-benefit analysis of a range of different typefaces, CNN reports.

He discovered that by switching to Garamond, whose thin, elegant strokes were designed by the 16th-century French publisher in the 16th century by Claude Garamond, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24%, saving as much as $21,000 annually. On that basis, he extrapolated, the federal and state governments could economise $370m (£222m) between them.

But should they? For starters, as the government politely pointed out, the real savings these days are in stopping printing altogether. Also, a 2010 study by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay estimated it could save $10,000 a year by switching from Arial to Century Gothic, which uses 30% less ink – but also found that because the latter is wider, some documents that fitted on a single page in Arial would now run to two, and so use more paper.

Font choice can affect more than just the bottom line. A 2010 Princeton university study found readers consistently retained more information from material displayed in so-called disfluent or ugly fonts (Monotype Corsiva, Haettenschweiler) than in simple, more readable fonts (Helvetica, Arial).

Read the entire article here.

Image: Arial Monotype font example. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

3D Printing Coming to a Home Near You

It seems that not too long ago we were writing about pioneering research into 3D printing and start-up businesses showing off their industrially focused, prototype 3D printers. Now, only a couple of years later there is a growing, consumer market, home-based printers for under $3,000, and even a a 3D printing expo — 3D Printshow. The future looks bright and very much three dimensional.

[div class=attrib]From the Independent:[end-div]

It is Star Trek science made reality, with the potential for production-line replacement body parts, aeronautical spares, fashion, furniture and virtually any other object on demand. It is 3D printing, and now people in Britain can try it for themselves.

The cutting-edge technology, which layers plastic resin in a manner similar to an inkjet printer to create 3D objects, is on its way to becoming affordable for home use. Some of its possibilities will be on display at the UK’s first 3D-printing trade show from Friday to next Sunday at The Brewery in central London .

Clothes made using the technique will be exhibited in a live fashion show, which will include the unveiling of a hat designed for the event by the milliner Stephen Jones, and a band playing a specially composed score on 3D-printed musical instruments.

Some 2,000 consumers are expected to join 1,000 people from the burgeoning industry to see what the technique has to offer, including jewellery and art. A 3D body scanner, which can reproduce a “mini” version of the person scanned, will also be on display.

Workshops run by Jason Lopes of Legacy Effects, which provided 3D-printed models and props for cinema blockbusters such as the Iron Man series and Snow White and the Huntsman, will add a sprinkling of Hollywood glamour.

Kerry Hogarth, the woman behind 3D Printshow, said yesterday she aims to showcase the potential of the technology for families. While prices for printers start at around £1,500 – with DIY kits for less – they are expected to drop steadily over the coming year. One workshop, run by the Birmingham-based Black Country Atelier, will invite people to design a model vehicle and then see the result “printed” off for them to take home.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image: 3D scanning and printing. Courtesy of Wikipedia.[end-div]

Lights That You Can Print

The lowly incandescent light bulb continues to come under increasing threat. First, came the fluorescent tube, then the compact fluorescent. More recently the LED (light emitting diode) seems to be gaining ground. Now LED technology takes another leap forward with printed LED “light sheets”.

[div class=attrib]From Technology Review:[end-div]

A company called Nth Degree Technologies hopes to replace light bulbs with what look like glowing sheets of paper (as shown in this video). The company’s first commercial product is a two-by-four-foot-square light, which it plans to start shipping to select customers for evaluation by the end of the year.

The technology could allow for novel lighting designs at costs comparable to the fluorescent light bulbs and fixtures used now, says Neil Shotton, Nth Degree’s president and CEO. Light could be emitted over large areas from curved surfaces of unusual shapes. The printing processes used to make the lights also make it easy to vary the color and brightness of the light emitted by a fixture. “It’s a new kind of lighting,” Shotton says.

Nth Degree makes its light sheets by first carving up a wafer of gallium nitride to produce millions of tiny LEDs—one four-inch wafer yields about eight million of them. The LEDs are then mixed with resin and binders, and a standard screen printer is used to deposit the resulting “ink” over a large surface.

In addition to the LED ink, there’s a layer of silver ink for the back electrical contact, a layer of phosphors to change the color of light emitted by the LEDs (from blue to various shades of white), and an insulating layer to prevent short circuits between the front and back. The front electrical contact, which needs to be transparent to let the light out, is made using an ink that contains invisibly small metal wires.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article here.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image courtesy of Technology Review.[end-div]