As the world’s largest purchaser, the U.S. government must explore every savings opportunity — down to the last serif on its millions of printed pages.
But when a Pittsburgh sixth-grader recently detailed a proposal to save the feds $136 million merely by printing documents in a simpler typeface, the Government Printing Office’s reaction was lukewarm.
According to CNN, 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani suggested the government use only one font, Garamond, which could represent a $136 million savings on printer ink annually.
Suvir discovered the potential savings while working on a science fair project. He wanted to find more ways to make schools more environmentally-sustainable and, rather than exploring the old-hat recycled paper, he found that certain fonts use less ink to print.
It may seem minor, but printer ink is expensive.
“Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” Suvir says with a chuckle.
When he saw the federal government spent $1.8 billion on printing costs, he realized his project could help them save millions. Suvir sent his idea to the federal government, a spokesman at the Government Printing Office said it has cut down on the amount it prints.
Suvir still contends his idea could save money.
“They can’t convert everything to a digital format; not everyone is able to access information online. Some things still have to be printed,” Suvir argues.
Suvir also said an additional $234 million could be saved nationwide if states shift to the Garamond font.