Even in a world that’s quickly going digital, printing is still a necessity, and ink is costly. So costly, in fact, that it is more expensive per milliliter than oil, champagne, or any designer perfume.
Now, 14-year-old student Suvir Mirchandani may have come up with an ingenious way of cutting back on printing costs, simply by swapping Times New Roman for Garamond, which he said uses 30 percent less ink.
A favorite font of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, a special Apple version of Garamond was the company’s typeface for nearly 20 years, the font for advertising, brochures, and manuals — and its iconic “Think different” campaign and strapline. But as well as being a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to other serif typefaces, Garamond actually weighs less, too.
Mirchandani’s discovery started out as a science fair project aimed at highlighting potential savings at his own school, but it quickly morphed into a research paper published by the Journal of Emerging Investigators applying his findings to the U.S. government.
In it he detailed how the use of Garamond, instead of Century Gothic or Times New Roman in the government’s own printed literature could result in savings of $136 million a year — roughly 30 percent of the government’s annual ink costs ($467 million).
To reach his conclusions, Mirchandani used APVSoft APFill Ink Coverage Software to calculate how much ink was being used with each typeface.
However, in his initial research into his own school’s ink use, he went as far as to print individual characters in different typefaces on paper and then weigh the sheets to check how much ink was used in each case.
The prominent design site Fast Company Design is pushing back against Mirchandani’s analysis, arguing that switching to Garamond would, in fact, save nothing. You can read the site’s argument here.