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How the Garamond typeface could be worth $100 million in government savings

A 14-year-old student thinks he has calculated a way to save the U.S. government more than $100 million per year, and it’s as simple as changing typefaces.

The answer is to require all printed documents to be written in the typeface Garamond, says Suvir Mirchandani of Pittsburgh. After examining the most commonly used characters and comparing different typefaces for a science fair project, Mirchandani found that using Garamond could reduce his school district’s ink usage by 24 percent and save upward of $21,000 annually.

Applied to the scale of documents printed by the federal government, the savings would be $136 million. If state governments joined in, Mirchandani estimates an additional $234 million could be saved.

Whether or not the Government Printing Office will apply the typeface change remains to be seen, but Garamond may be the new favorite for those hoping to squeeze a few extra droplets of black ink out of their printers.