The Sideshow

Your font is showing: Student comes up with plan to save U.S. big bucks

Change type style on government documents and use less ink

The Sideshow

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Adobe Garamond Pro (Wikimedia Commons)

Politicians on both sides of the aisle like to talk about cutting costs in Washington. But few, if any, have ever come up with an idea as simple as the one recently proposed by 14-year-old student Suvir Mirchandani.

Change the font.

Suvir's story was recently reported on CNN.com. The Pittsburgh-area student began his quest by trying to think of ways to save his school district a few bucks. After examining different handouts provided by teachers in different classes, he noticed that the fonts varied and some seemed to require a lot more ink than others.

Suvir, whom we hope got extra credit for his impressive work, discovered that the most commonly used letters on handouts seemed to be r, a, e, o and t. Armed with that information, he set to work looking at how different fonts treated each letter, CNN reports. Suvir found that of the fonts he tested, Garamond (named after Claude Garamond, the original designer of the typeface) would require the least amount of ink and could save his school district as much as $21,000 per year.

Helvetica who?

But that isn't all. Suvir reached out to the Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI), "an open-access journal that publishes original research in the biological and physical sciences that is written by middle and high school students."

Workers at the journal were reportedly impressed by Suvir's work and asked him to apply his findings to the entire United States government. Now we really hope he got extra credit.

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Claude Garamond (Wikimedia Commons)

After tracking down what the government is estimated to spend on ink per year ($467 million),  Suvir found that that Uncle Sam could save around $136 million per year by switching to Garamond exclusively. In addition, he found state governments that made the change could pull in $234 million in savings, according to CNN's report.

So is the government going to make the switch? Gary Somerset, PR manager for the U.S. Government Printing Office, praised Suvir's works as "remarkable," according to CNN, but he also said the government is focusing its reduction efforts on getting things on the Web.

Suvir's entire article can be found here.

Pro tip: If you do need to print it out, do yourself a favor and check font settings first.

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter (@mikekrumboltz).

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