Could something as little as changing what font it uses on documents save the US Government millions of dollars each year? Yes, says student Suvir Mirchandani.
The 14-year-old discovered his findings when he decided to look for ways to cut waste and save his Pittsburgh-area middle school money.
As part of a science project, the sixth grader decided he was going to investigate if there was a better way to manage the paper and ink used on the many handouts students receive everyday at Dorseyville Middle School.
Mirchandani studied a selection of random handouts collected from his teachers and found that the letters e, t, a, o, and r were the most commonly used characters. He charted how often the letters were used in four different typefaces: Garamond, Century Gothic, Times New Roman, and Comic Sans. He then went on to measure how much ink was used when creating each letter, with the help of a commercial tool called APFill Ink Coverage Software.
The student then enlarged the letters, printed them on cardstock paper, and cut them out and weighed them to see which was the heaviest. He performed three different trials, and found that Garamond used the least. Thanks to its thinner strokes, this font could reduce its ink consumption by 24 percent, saving the school as much as $21,000 each year.
Mirchandani submitted his findings to the Journal for Emerging Investigators, a publication founded by a group of Harvard grads. The JEI was so impressed with the student’s work, the staff challenged him to investigate if the font change would save money for the federal government.
Mirchandani discovered that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively, it could save nearly 30 percent, or $136 million per year. If state governments used the font, an additional $234 million could be spared.
Although Gary Somerset, the media and public relations manager of the Government Printing Office is quite impressed with the student’s findings, it is unclear whether the change will be made.
Image via YouTube