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Toner usage increases with color selection?

Posted on 2006-11-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-12
Hi, this may be odd. We have a Xerox DocuColor 2240 here, which I'm pretty sure is a CMYK laser printer ( http://www.office.xerox.com/color-multifunction/docucolor-2240/spec-enus.html ). My question, stems from a question that I was asked recently. I was asked that, since our new website design has a darker color of blue dominating it, will it use more toner when printed as opposed to our previous, light-blue design? I have a few theories but... well, that's why I'm here. :)

TIA for any insight!
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Question by:wysardry
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Herman D'Hondt earned 500 total points
ID: 17853443
You are correct.

Yes, the DocuColor 2240 is a CMYK printer. Most colour printers are, with the exception of some high-quality inkjets which use CMYK plus additional colours.

Some colours do use more toner than others. First, light tints obviously use less as they leave more white (paper) between the dots to lighten the colour. For example a 10% magenta colour only covers 10% of the possible colour dots on the page with magenta. The other 90% are empty. Hence it only uses one tenth the toner of 100% magenta.

Primary colours (cyan, magenta, yellow) obviously cannot use more than 100% coverage. However, secondary colours (red, green blue) use up to 200%. This is because, for example, red is made up by adding magenta and yellow. Hence, 100% red consists of 100% magenta and 100% yellow. Ditto for blue (cyan and magenta) and green (cyan and yellow).

Other colours use even more ink. In fact, the (theoretical) maximum is 400% ink coverage: 100% each of CMYK. In practice you can go up to around 300% - which is also PhotoShop's default ink limit. To check, open a CMYK image in PhotoShop or a similar package and check the ink values in very dark areas. The total ink coverage will be well over 100%.

Note that the figures I have used are only approximate, due to things like "dot gain" (dots spread out as they are put on the paper).

So yes, changing your website colour from dark blue to cyan will change the amount of toner/ink used.
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by:wysardry
ID: 17853628
Thanks! That's almost what I assumed, but I definitely learned something... excellent answer.
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by:Herman D'Hondt
ID: 17855203
Glad you found it useful

H-)
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