14-year old Suvir Mirchandani was studying ways to reduce the use of ink and paper for a school project when he discovered that using the Garamond font, rather than Times New Roman and other popular fonts, businesses and organisations could save thousand of dollars every year on printer ink.
He calculated his findings by taking the handout samples given out by teachers and counting how often the most common characters were used in different typefaces and then worked out how much ink was used for each letter.
CNN reports how “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.”
According to his study, he found that just in his school district alone, ink consumption could be reduced by 24 percent, saving $21,000 a year.
Suvir had his study published in the Journal for Emerging Investigators (JEI), which was founded by Harvard graduate students to allow school students to showcase their work. “We were so impressed. We really could really see the real-world application in Suvir’s paper,” said Sarah Fankhauser, one of JEI’s founders, of Suvir’s work.
JEI encouraged Suvir to apply his theory to the federal government and the results were astounding. He repeated his tests several times and found that by switching to the Garamond font, the federal government could save 30 percent on ink, that’s almost $136 million a year! If state governments switched too, a further $234 million could be saved.
The government did label Suvir’s work as “remarkable” but hasn’t been motivated to make the font change. Instead its focus is on printing less documents and using recycled paper.