Surrounded by text at nearly any given moment, people usually don't think about the printed words around them beyond meaning and aesthetics. Turns out, selecting the right font could actually save the United States a huge sum of money every year—$370 million, to be exact. Pittsburgh student Suvir Mirchandani took it upon himself to look into the annual cost of ink for his school and then the United States, and his findings were pretty mind-blowing. The twist? The Pittsburgh researcher is only 14 years old.
One day, the Dorseyville Middle School student noticed that he was receiving a lot more printed handouts than he had in elementary school. Curious as to how much these print outs cost his school, Mirchandani found that an ounce of ink goes for around $75, which is twice the price of a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. Next, he employed a software called APFill Coverage to calculate the amount of ink used in four commonly used fonts, Century Gothic, Comic Sans (ew), Garamond, and the default typeface of most word processors, Times New Roman. The font those looking to save money should be using? The finer, more delicate Garamond font.
Mirchandi found that switching from Times New Roman to Garamond would save his school district $21,000 each year. With some encouragement from his teachers, he applied the same math he did to the country's ink budget. He discovered changing the fonts on government printed documents from Times New Roman to Garamond would save the country $136 million a year. If local and state governments did the same, an additional $234 million could be cut, making it a grand total of $370 million in savings. That's a ton of money. As for whether Mirchandani's findings will reap any changes? That has yet to be seen.
"I recognize it's difficult to change someone's behavior. That's the most difficult part,” the 14-year-old told CNN. “I definitely would love to see some actual changes and I'd be happy to go as far as possible to make that change possible."
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