14-year-old, I repeat, 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani figured out a way to save money on printing for institutions by simply changing fonts.
Reducing paper use through recycling and dual-sided printing had been talked about before as a way to save money and conserve resources, but there was less attention paid to the ink for which the paper served as a canvas for history and algebra handouts.
"Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume," Suvir says with a chuckle.
He's right: Chanel No. 5 perfume costs $38 per ounce, while the equivalent amount of Hewlett-Packard printer ink can cost up to $75.
So Suvir decided to focus his project on finding ways to cut down on the costly liquid.
Collecting random samples of teachers' handouts, Suvir concentrated on the most commonly used characters (e, t, a, o and r).
First, he charted how often each character was used in four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. Then he measured how much ink was used for each letter, using a commercial tool called APFill® Ink Coverage Software.
Next he enlarged the letters, printed them and cut them out on cardstock paper to weigh them to verify his findings. He did three trials for each letter, graphing the ink usage for each font.
From this analysis, Suvir figured out that by using Garamond with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24%, and in turn save as much as $21,000 annually.
Read the full article on Suvir at CNN.com and about his conclusion that based on his findings, the Government Services Administrations could save 30% per year by just changing the font to reduce ink costs. Brilliant!