Teen tells US government they can save $234m by changing font

Desktops

by Jimmy Nicholls| 28 April 2014

Setting the default font to Garamond may save millions in printing costs.

Suvir Mirchandani, a 15-year-old from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, claims the US government could save $234m by printing documents in Garamond.

In a piece published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI) called "A Simple Print Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction", Mirchandani recommended that bureaucracy change fonts to save ink, and thus printing costs.

Writing in the FT Weekend Magazine, he said: "I got the idea back in sixth grade, when I noticed that my teachers used a lot of printed handouts. It occurred to me that the fonts they relied on - Arial and Comic Sans mostly - were big and bold and required a great deal of ink."

After investigating the subject, Mirchandani found that that his school district could save $21,000. On encouragement from the JEI editors he expanded his analysis to local, state and federal governments, leading to a prediction of massive savings.

The teenager, who told the FT he hopes to become a software engineer, wrote in the JEI that the 2014 printing budgets for the American federal agencies amounts to $1.8bn. Though he expects savings of $234m, they could be anywhere between $62m and $394m.

As well as Garamond, Times New Roman and Century Gothic were tested, both with inferior results to Mirchandani's recommendation. All three fonts were recommended in a General Services Administration report from 2012.
There has been no response from the Government Printing Office as to whether the recommendations will be implemented.

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