Teenager: Printing Everything in Garamond Could Save Government $400 Million

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 29 2014 1:31 PM

Teenager: Printing Everything in Garamond Could Save Government $400 Million

Copies of President Barack Obama's budget proposal are seen in stacks at the Government Printing Office on April 8, 2013

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Most people don’t give a second thought to fonts. We just use one we’re comfortable with and get on with our days. Turns out though, picking the right font could save you lots of cash. That was the conclusion 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani came up with when he analyzed his school’s ink and font usage and came to the realization that ink consumption could be cut 24 percent by switching to Garamond, reports CNN.

Mirchandani went on to publish a study in the Journal for Emerging Investigators, where he took on a far larger target: the federal government’s $467 million annual ink budget. And his conclusion? Switching to Garamond could save the government $136 million per year, while state governments could save $234 million as a whole if they also followed the lead. CNN talked to the PR manager at the Government Printing Office, who called the study “remarkable” but was unwilling to commit to changing fonts. Still, even if Mirchandani doesn’t get the government to change its ways, he’s hoping others will listen: "Consumers are still printing at home, they can make this change too."


Wikimedia Commons


Update Monday, March 31: Fast Company offers a rather persuasive debunking of Mirchandani's claims: "Using less ink might cost the government slightly less money, but it's not going to come from switching to Garamond. Garamond's letters are smaller at the same height as other fonts, making it less legible at the same size when printed out." Read the full detailed rebuttal here.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
Sept. 19 2014 3:24 PM Why Innovators Hate MBAs
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.