clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How can government save $400 million a year? Change font on docs

As taxpayers, this is change we can believe in. But what about the government?

One teenager says that if official documents were printed using the Garamond font, instead of Times New Roman, it would save nearly $400 million a year. That’s because Garamond uses significantly less ink and is slightly smaller, so it would also use less paper, CNN reports.

Suvir Mirchandani, 14, has run the numbers and calculated that for his school district, such a move would reduce ink consumption by 24 percent and save as much as $21,000 annually. That’s just his school district.

But how did he come up with those calculations?

First, he charted how often each character was used in four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Then he measured how much ink was used for each letter, using a commercial tool called APFill® Ink Coverage Software.

Next he enlarged the letters, printed them and cut them out on cardstock paper to weigh them to verify his findings. He did three trials for each letter, graphing the ink usage for each font.

He then ran some bigger numbers.

Using the General Services Administration’s estimated annual cost of ink— $467 million —Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30% — or $136 million per year. An additional $234 million could be saved annually if state governments also jumped on board, he reported.