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Posts Tagged ‘fonts’

Cutting gov’t spending is so easy a 6th-grader can do it

Posted by Richard on March 29, 2014

Peter Suderman at Reason Hit & Run reported:

Figuring out how to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars on ink is so easy a sixth grader could do it. In fact, one did.

Suvir Mirchandani, a student at a Pittsburgh middle school, decided he wanted to look for ways to reduce waste at his school. So for a school science project, he measured how much ink was used …

It turned out his school district could reduce its annual ink usage by 24 percent and save $21,000 a year by switching to Garamond, a lighter font with thinner, less ink-heavy strokes.

After submitting his work to a journal for young researchers run by Harvard grad students, Mirchandani was encouraged to expand his research.

Young Mirchandani took on the more arduous task of analyzing the printer ink usage of the federal government’s General Services Administration and determined that it could cut ink costs by 30% — $136 million per year — by simply changing fonts. State governments, according to his calculations, could save an additional $234 million.

So will the Government Printing Office make a change? I wouldn’t count on it:

Gary Somerset, media and public relations manager at the Government Printing Office, describes Suvir’s work as “remarkable.” But he was noncommittal on whether the GPO would introduce changes to typeface, saying the GPO’s efforts to become more environmentally sustainable were focused on shifting content to the Web.

Sounds like Mirchandani may end up learning two lessons: With a little thought, a smart person can find simple ways for the government to save money—and the government doesn’t seem terribly interested in pursuing them.

I’m impressed by Suvir Mirchandani’s efforts. But I’m also a bit disappointed. I suspect his findings are the death knell for my crusade to have all government publications printed in Comic Sans.

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