Yoda: Design Thinking Meets True Cost Economics — Change Type Font, Save $370 Million

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Font of Knowledge: Teenager Finds Typeface Switch Could Save US Government $370m

A high school student from Pittsburgh has discovered a simple but innovative method that could save the US government approximately $370 million (£222m) a year in printing ink costs: Change the typeface it uses.

Fourteen-year-old Suvir Mirchandani began his investigation into which typefaces used the least amount of printer ink as a science fair project at Dorseyville Middle School when he learnt of the large amounts of money his school was spending on printer ink.

“Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” Mirchandani told CNN.

Using a sample of the most popular typefaces he received in class handouts from his teachers, Mirchandani set about measuring how much ink was used in the the most commonly used characters (e, t, a, o and r).

For each typeface Mirchandani enlarged the letters, printed them out and weighed them to estimate the amount of ink used in the average document.

He found that between Times New Roman, Garamond, Century Gothic and Comic Sans, the thinner strokes of Garamond used 24% more ink than its counterparts. By his calculations, his school district could save $21,000 (£12,600) annually if they permanently switched to the font.

Mirchandani’s findings were submitted to the Journal for Emerging Investigations (JEI), who challenged the student to apply his project to a larger scale.

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