Multimedia design is all about the form and function of digital media, mostly using graphics and HTML and mostly on the Web these days.

Being all about digital media, web design, the Internet, the Web etc we still seem to be stuck with those dinosaurs of previous decades, the printer. We still use the printer to store and transfer data on sheets of paper. We can get an entire library onto the head of a pin but we choose to get a single page onto a whole sheet of paper.

It is of course understandable. For around $0.08 we can store and transfer this small amount of data together with its own reader. Very convenient!

The downside is the loss of trees, and the great, huge, vast cost of printing. Most companies don’t know how much they spend on printing. You might have an idea, but how much is it really costing?

When you have a closer look at this, you will find that the cost of a printer is peanuts compared to the cost of running it. Ink and paper add up and they add up quickly!

There are a lot of ways to reduce these costs such as printing in draft mode, printing two sheets to a page or duplex printing (print on both sides) but I am going to talk about the easiest and probably the only workable solution for a medium to larger organisation or school.

It is all about the managing printers. There is software for this such as Print Manager Plus.

With print managers you can do many things, the most important of which is tracking. By tracking printing, you will quickly get a good picture of just how much printing goes on in your organisation. You will be able to see where paper and ink is being wasted. It will guide you to the departments and persons who need educating on the use of printers.

Education is important, but might not be effective, so restrictions are needed. With a print manager, you can restrict printing buy users, groups and printers. You can set a cost per print job, and hand out credits to each user or group. This way they will always think twice before printing.

Other options are limiting the number of copies made as often only one is needed and the others can then be done on a copier/Xerox machine. Also colour printing can be banned and more.

There is a lot of money to be saved as well as the environment!