The worst fonts

The worst fonts

Some people hardly pay any attention to the font they use, but for us here at INKredible it's a bit of a big deal.
 
Well we would say that wouldn't we? We are in the business of selling ink and toner cartridges, after all.
 
But really – we're quite keen on fonts. And we suspect you probably are, too. After all, anyone who takes a bit of pride in their work wants to make sure it looks good, right?
 
But the thing is...aren't some of the fonts you see today just awful? Whether it's some junk mail through the post or a university PowerPoint presentation, there are some really nasty fonts out there – in our view anyway.
 
So here's four of our least favourite fonts. Of course, you might disagree. Which is fair enough.


 
Comic Sans
 
Now, you just knew this one was going to make our list didn't you? Probably the most hated font of all, Comic Sans is a word you won't hear uttered all that often at INKredible towers.
 
Just look at it: it's so childish and informal, yet so many people use if you important things, like presentations, adverts and essays. Weird.
And what's the name all about? Comic Sans? What does that even mean?

 
Monotype Corsiva
 
Looking for a little, um, je ne sais quoi ? Opt for Monotype Corsiva. Or don't, if you want people to take you seriously.

 
Impact
 
Just awful. It's horribly blocky, far too thick and attempts to look 'cool' when in fact it, er, isn't cool.  At all.

 
WingDings
 
Who on earth actually uses this?
 
Us neither....



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Fancy a robot? Print your own...

Fancy a robot? Print your own...

A US-based project aims to make it possible for people to print robots on demand before the end of the decade. 

Researchers from three universities have secured funding to pursue the initiative that would see them build desktop technology that would allow almost anyone to design and print a specialised robot in just a few hours. 

The initiative is being funded by a $10 million (£6.3 million) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

The five-year project involves teams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. 

Virginia-based NSF said the move was part of an effort to "catalyse far-reaching research explorations motivated by deep scientific questions". 

Currently, it takes years and resources to produce, program and design a functioning robot. 

The printed robots would be 'pre-programmed' with certain tasks but users would be able to add more actions by programming additional commands, sent wirelessly to the robot. 

The new initiative, which would "completely automate" the printing process, is the latest stage in the development of 3D printing.

 

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Rob Wood from Harvard University said: "We think of printing as a broad class of techniques which are inherently accessible and relatively cheap. 

"3D printers are becoming more accessible but we want to go beyond that to create robots that encompass multiple functionalities, that have electrical and mechanical components, controllers and microprocessors. That's something that goes beyond today's state-of-the-art printers."

 

He said the research project could be used as a blueprint for future developments – envisaging 'one-stop-shop' machines that can print out a robot at home for less than $100. 

Sounds interesting, huh? We certainly think so...

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Why it's all about the font

 

Why it's all about the font

What's your favourite font? Here at INKredible we favour Times New Roman – simple, straight-laced, open and honest – a lot like our good selves!

Sans Serif? Comic Sans? Wingdings? You're having a laugh, aren't you?

Seriously though – we felt a blog about fonts was high time, given – and you'd be forgiven for not knowing this –  that the font you choose can vary the amount of ink that you use when printing.

In fact, it's one of several ways you can make your ink and toner last that little bit longer.

We're well into our green practices here at INKredible – and rightly recognise the good it can do for the environment – as well as your back pocket, of course.

On top of that, reducing the amount of waste cartridges, thinking of ways you can save on ink benefits you in the long run.

According to Which?, the consumer rights organisation, there are a range of steps you can take to bring down the cost of home printing.

"Printing in draft when you don't need best quality will save on ink," a spokesperson said. 

"Even changing the font you use or the font size can vary the amount of ink that hits the page - therefore affecting ink running costs." 

When it comes to getting a good price on ink and toner, people were advised to shop around, particularly if you're buying ink from the same brand as your printer. 

"Which? found you can end up paying up to twice as much for the same cartridge, depending on where you shop," the spokesperson added.

"Using ink from a brand that's different from your printer - non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or third party - is an option, as these can sometimes work out cheaper."

 

What are your tips for cutting down the cost of printing? Share them here. And tell us your favourite font, too.

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Cutting out the middleman: printing with your iPad

There was a time - and for many, this is still the case - when a PC was the be-all and end-all of the office space, with the printer serving merely as its servant; a physical extension unable to break free or fend for itself.

Whether you wanted to print documents from the internet or pictures from your camera, you would need these devices to play nice with the computer if it was to grant access to your printer.

But in the last few years, printers have increasingly found a voice of their own. First, we had devices that could connect to a network independently of any one PC, then came machines capable of speaking to your camera, or even the internet, directly.

Cutting out the middleman: printing with your iPad

Newer ranges from manufacturers such as Samsung are even able to communicate with smartphones and tablets, Apple's staple of trend-leading products included.

 

With the mobile revolution shifting focus away from desktop PCs and even laptops, many small businesses are starting to flirt with the idea of using an iPad or a smartphone to take care of their computing needs.

 

And if the PC no longer has a stranglehold on productivity in your workplace, it makes sense to select a printer that can communicate directly with the devices that you might want to use.

 

Maybe then, you could forget the middleman altogether.

 

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Stuck in a paper jam?

Stuck in a paper jam?

It always seems to happen at the most inopportune moment, doesn't it? There you are, gently feeding the paper into the printer. You click send, the printer whirrs, only for it to stop abruptly. Paper jam.

Now, we know it's difficult, but resist your first instinct to throw the printer out of the nearest window. It'll make a mess of your room and you won't have a printer anymore.

Paper jams are just one of those frustrating things that happen. Printing should be a simple and easy thing to do, and usually it is. It's just now and again, and it's pretty rare, that the paper gets stuck in the printer.


Sorting the jam

The first thing to do if you have a paper jam is turn the printer off. You're about to stick your hand in the machine so make sure it's not connected to any power source.

Next, see if you can actually see the paper. It might be half sticking out of the paper tray or something – if so, try and 'feed' it out. You'll probably find the firm-but-slow technique works well here – grip the paper hard but pull it out slowly but surely. The key thing is to make sure you don't rip the paper – this could leave a little scrap of paper lodged somewhere which could cause lots of problems.

Still not sorted? Then open the printer 'hood' and slide out the ink or toner cartridge so you can have a proper look inside – you'll probably find the paper has got itself lodged in here or behind the rollers somewhere. Again, adopt firm-but-slow and manually remove it. If you can't do it this way, try moving the rollers – this should help coax the paper out of hiding.

What could you do to prevent it happening again?

Sometimes a print jam just happens. However, if you find it's happening quite a lot, there could be something specific that's causing it. There's a few things you could look at.

Paper tray – a paper tray is pretty robust, but make sure you don't overfill it. Try reducing the amount of paper in the tray and just adding more when you need it.

Correct paper – sounds a little obvious, but make sure you're using the correct paper for your printer. If you have a standard mono printer for black-and-white prints, use standard paper, not card or photo paper. These could clog up your machine and cause problems.

Printer itself – if you can't see anything obvious that might be causing a problem, you might need to give your printer a spring clean. A good place to start is the printer rollers – these could have become clogged up with dried ink or toner. If this is the case, removing them will probably sort it.


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Laser vs Inkjet: Who wins?

Picture the scene. A disused railway line. At night. There's no-one around, except that is, for a laser printer and an inkjet printer. They're about to do battle. Who wins? 

We're entering an age-old argument here folks. Two of the most common types of printing have long been waging a war for top dog status. It's the technological equivalent of, um, Man vs Wild. 

But which is better? We go through the pros and cons.

Inkjet

Inkjets

To put it simply, the big difference an inkjet has over its laser equivalent is, as the name suggests, that is uses liquid ink.

The big plus for inkjets is that because they can handle multiple ink streams, they are really good for printing photos, complicated colour prints, and on a range of media (some can print on CDs).

However, one drawback is when it comes to speed. They are faster than they once were, but inkjets still aren't as zippy as lasers. That's because lasers use big sophisticated lasers.

Still, if speed isn't a massive issue, you can expect great quality prints from an inkjet. And like we say, they're not that slow.

What's more, while it might seem like inkjets are more suited to the individual consumer as opposed to a business, this isn't so. Pick up a decent multi-function inkjet printer and you'll find it's more than capable of handling business tasks.

 

Lasers

 

Laser

Text, text, text. That's what lasers are all about. Text, and lots of it.

Fire up a laser printer and – boom – it'll give you a stream of basic prints before you can say, er, laser.

Black text, too, is the laser's strong point. That's why they are so suited to businesses – they can print black text fast.

They can handle different colours, but don't expect them to print anything too complicated.

Speed, too. Laser printers are really fast and it's unlikely the laser will ever compare to it. If you want to be churning out the prints, a laser is your best bet.

When it comes to cost, such is the market these days that there really isn't that much difference in price. However, be aware that with the lower-priced models, you really aren't paying for much. If you're looking for something effective and adaptable, you'll need to spend a little bit more.

 

Anyway – who's better? Well, it won't surprise you to hear that really, neither is better than the other.

It all depends on what you need to print. Just printing black text documents? Go for a laser. Colour-happy? Inkjet will be up your alley.

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Buying supplies for the office

A good stock of office supplies is key to the smooth-running of a business. Being able to always print out documents, send faxes and prepare for presentations and meetings is crucial to any business's operations.

If you're a start-up business, high on your list of priorities will be making a good impression to new and potential customers. As well as impressing your employees through effective communication.

Proper management of your consumables is a great way to achieve this. It'll mean you can print those all-important invoices to ensure you get paid on time and ensure you never miss a deadline.

This blog suggests a few simple steps you can take to buy in and look after paper, ink and toner for the office.

Buying supplies for the office

Draw up a supplies list

As a starting point, assess what your day-to-day operations will be and take it from there. How many documents a week do you estimate you'll need to print?

Will you be using a lot of colour – say marketing materials, newsletters, designs and graphics?

Working this out will help you to decide what levels of ink, toner and paper you'll need for the office.


Buy in bulk

Draw up a supplies list

Buying in bulk makes financial sense. Once armed with what levels of consumables you'll need you'll also be in a much better position to compare prices.

Most companies offer bulk discounts, but it's important to shop around too. You might find some firms will throw in some little extras in their bundles too.

Once you've been up and running a few months think about putting a regular order system in place with your supplier – this will ensure you get prompt deliveries each month without the need to place new orders and complete paperwork.

Sort some space out

Where will you put all your paper, ink cartridges and toner? Under the desks? Never a good idea. For one thing, and for another, it'll clutter up the office, which won't be good for productivity.

A stationery cupboard is the best idea, failing that, place them in the server room or in the corner of an office.

Keep an eye on stock levels

It's Friday afternoon, you're getting set for the weekend. You just need to print these last few documents out. Thing is, you can't. because you've run out of ink or paper. Or both.

Avoid this office nightmare by keeping a check on your stock levels. Ink cartridges getting low? Paper looking a little thin? Get some more in straightaway to avoid problems further down the line.

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How to be a 'green' printer

Regular printer user and want to do your bit for the environment? Here's some top tips for how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

We're quite into our green printing here at INKredible – it makes sense, right? Thing is, there's a bit of a perception that printing is an energy-sapping process – don't printers guzzle a lot of ink and use a fair bit of electricity?

Well, not really. Not if you use your loaf anyway. In fact, going green when it comes to printing is perfectly possible. Here's a few ideas to get you started.


How to be a 'green' printer

Duplex printing

Why not think about using both sides of the page? Sounds obvious, but it's amazing how many people simply don't bother. OK – it won't work for everything but in some cases, like for work and university assignments, it will actually make your prints look a lot better.

The vast majority of modern printers now come with built-in duplex printing options, so you've simply no reason not to. You'll cut the amount of paper you use in half.

Recycle

We all know how easy it is to recycle printer paper, whether at home or in the office, but did you know you can also recycle your printers, ink and toner cartridges, too? Yes, it's perfectly possible. There are lots of companies out there that will do it for you, some will collect and some ask you to post them off.

Recycling your bits in this way also helps around the home – because you won't have any old printers and ink cartridges clogging up the garage!


Does everything have to be top quality?

For some things, it will be necessary to really put your printer to work and use colour ink and lengthy print runs.

But when your prints don't have to be top-drawer, why waste quality ink you simply don't need to? If it's just something you'll be using as a draft, do you really need to go the whole hog and have all the ink levels set right to the top? Probably not.

And while we're on the theme, exploring what your printer can really do is also a good idea. Look a little deeper into the options and you'll find there are a whole host of things your machine can do.

While these practices are undoubtedly good for the environment, think also how much money they'll help you save too.

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LVCR: An update

Guerney's beautiful shoreline isn't the only thing attracting big business to the island.

In our blog post on Thursday we spoke a bit about Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) and how it could soon change.

We explained it all in the post but to give you an ever so brief summary: LVCR is a tax relief that allows – or, ahem, has allowed, firms in the Channel Islands to export some goods exempt from VAT.

This means you could buy a DVD or CD from one of the retailers and find it a little cheaper than a UK retailer.


Lots of businesses – and the government too – think the tax relief is unfair and a long campaign to end it reached the High Court yesterday where a decision was finally made.

Well, we kept our beady little eyes on proceedings and we've just logged on to give you an update. And as planned, the tax relief on low-value items will be scrapped from April 1st, a court has ruled. It means as of April retailers that base themselves in the Channel Islands – Jersey and Guernsey – will no longer be able to avoid paying VAT on certain products.


As a retailer based in the UK, we support the move, which the government has been planning for some time.

It puts us on a level playing field with everyone else. Fair, no?

 

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What is LVCR and why does it matter?

Guerney's beautiful shoreline isn't the only thing attracting big business to the island.

For years firms based in the Channel Islands have been able to significantly undercut their rivals on the mainland thanks to a VAT loophole.

The UK government wants to close this loophole from April 1st, and with a judicial decision on it expected later today, we wanted to lend you a few thoughts on it.

It's called Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR) and is essentially a tax relief on cheaper goods.

 

What it has meant is that retailers based in Guernsey and Jersey have been able to ship products worth £15 or less – like CDs, DVDs and, of course, printer consumables – without having to pay any VAT.

It's all part of a government effort to save at least £100 million in lost sales tax and make it fairer for UK businesses.

Play.com was the first major company to take advantage of the tax relief back in 1998, transforming in the process the shape of UK ecommerce.

 

For consumers it made perfect sense: cheaper products bought over the internet. But for some time there has been growing concern from many retailers that the loophole is simply unfair, and is damaging business.

On the other hand, the governments of Jersey and Guernsey say closing the loophole would have a big impact on their economies and employment.

Last November the government reduced the LVCR threshold from £18 to £15 and from April 1st 2012, it wants it disbanded completely.

While LVCR is undoubtedly a hot topic, what most retailers are looking for is simply a level playing field.

 

We're looking for a level playing field in the online market.

"It's a very competitive market out there, and now, more than ever margins are tight," said Tom Coley, our general manager.

 

"A company shipping their products from the Channel Islands or anywhere else the LVCR applies can easily undercut us by up to 20 per cent simply because they don't have to charge VAT. This makes it very difficult for us to compete."

 

Getting the best deal for the consumer is what we're all about. We want to help you save money wherever possible – that's the ethos INKredible was built on and we work very hard to get the best deals for our customers.

 

"But when customers are coming to us saying they are going elsewhere because they've found the same product almost a quarter cheaper from a company based in the Channel Islands it's quite a slap in the face," Tom said.

 

"We're not asking for preferential treatment, just a level playing field."

 

What are your thoughts on all this? Let us know. And with a decision expected later today, we'll be keeping you posted.

 




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