Teenager Proposes Font Change for $234m in Savings

A 14-year-old boy claimed that the U.S. government could save $234 million by switching from Times New Roman to Garamond. But The Washington Post reports, "That claim is patently false."

Suvir Mirchandani, from Pittsburgh, made a good point: a smaller or thinner font could reduce paper and toner expenses. Garamond simply takes less ink than does Times New Roman.


But experts say that the government doesn't print nearly the quantity that Mirchandani estimated in his paper, published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators. The Government Printing Office, which prints about half of the government's work, spent only $700,000 on ink last year. Mirchandani admits that he didn't get his information directly from the government in time for his paper to be published.

Second, Mirchandani failed to consider that the font change, as you see above, makes the printing harder to read. That's a real consequence of a smaller or thinner font-and who knows what problems that would cause and how much they would cost.

Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • Read Mirchandani's paper. Can you identify the flaws?
  • How would you describe the consequences of a font that's more difficult to read? Consider who reads government documents and for what reasons.