An American schoolboy has come up with a way to save the government millions of dollars, simply by changing the fonts it uses in printed and official documents from Times to Garamond.
14-year old Suvir Mirchandani stumbled upon the concept when working on a theme to cut waste and save money in a science fair project at his school, according to CNN.
His analysis showed that changing the font in printed documents and handouts would save his school about $21,000 annually, while if the same savings were extended to documents printed by the state and federal government offices, about $400m per year might be cut from the budget for ink.
"Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume," Mirchandani observed.
To carry out his experiment, he collected random samples of handouts he received in his middle school, and tallied the most commonly used characters.
He then used ink-coverage software to measure how much ink was used for each letter in different fonts such as Times New Roman, Garamond, Century Gothic, and Comic Sans.
The software calculations showed that Garamond consumed 24% less ink because of its thinner strokes.
To confirm his findings, he repeated the tests on documents from a government printing office website, and got similar results.
Mirchandani's findings were published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators (JEI), founded by Harvard students, for middle and high school innovators.
Sarah Fankhauser, the journal's co-founder, said that his project was unique among all the 200 submitted proposals.
"We were so impressed. We really could really see the real-world application in Suvir's paper."
Nowadays offices around the world are trying to encourage online information access, and cut down on paper use. However, as Mirchandani noted: "They can't convert everything to a digital format.. Some things still have to be printed."