Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions

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The federal government has rejected a suggestion based on a high school freshman’s research that could have saved taxpayers up to 94 million in annual printing costs.

Fox Chapel Area High School student Suvir Mirchandani began his project in the sixth grade, measuring how much ink could be saved in institutional publications if the printers switched to a thinner typeface, according to Forbes magazine. Systematic testing revealed that 12-point Garamond font could net a savings of up to 30 percent, or 1,000, if used in publications distributed by Mirchandani’s school district.

After reading the boy’s science fair paper, co-authored by teacher Peter Pinko, officials at the Journal of Emerging Investigators asked him to expand the research. So Mirchandani, now 14, calculated ink and fonts used by the Government Printing Office, finding that by switching to the thinner Garamond, taxpayers could save hundreds of millions of dollars, Forbes reported.

His newly expanded study was published in the latest edition of the Journal of Emerging Investigators, which publishes research by middle and high school students.

Naturally, the Government Printing Office dismissed Mirchandani’s suggestion, saying the government is saving money by increasing the use of online documents and phasing out hard-copy paper.

Mirchandani disagreed with the strategy, telling CNN’s Pittsburgh affiliate: “They can’t convert everything to a digital format. Not everyone is able to access information online. Some things still have to be printed.”

French publisher Claude Garamond invented his typeface in the early 1500s. Too bad so much of Washington still lives in the dark ages. It’s not too late, though, for the printing industry to capitalize on Mirchandani’s research to yield its own savings.

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“Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions”