Switching to Garamond could slash US government printing costs by almost a quarter

A Pittsburgh teenager has worked out that the US government could slash millions from its costs by making a simple change to IT policy. Suvir Mirchandani's suggestion is laughably simple, but it is one that should hold water -- although I'll admit to not fully following through with the math to determine the precise levels of savings that could be achieved. Suvir proposes that a move away from the most commonly used fonts, such as Times New Roman, in favour of a lighter typeface such as Garamond could reduce the US government's printing costs by a colossal 24 percent.

There can be few printer owners who have not cursed the price of ink -- it is one of the costs of ownership that can creep up on the unsuspecting printer user. You might think that the paperless office was, if not here, well on its way to arriving. It's something that has been talked about for years now, and there has been a general move toward eliminating some paper versions of documents in favour of electronic copies. But there are still an unbelievable number of printed documents out there.

With a printing budget of $1.8 billion each year, any savings that could be made by the government could very easily mount up. Suvir had already managed to calculate that his school district's printing costs could be reduced by $21,000 each year, he was challenged to scale up his project to see how much could be saved by the federal government. The numbers are somewhat mindblowing. By doing nothing more than printing documents in Garamond, federal government could slash its costs by $136 million each year.

If this is not impressive enough, factor in state governments and the figure jumps to $370 million. There's potential to take things even further. If printer manufacturers switch focus to quantity rather than quality, printer owners could expect to get more documents per dollar of ink; in addition to using a lighter font, defaulting to draft mode rather than the highest quality print setting could cut costs even more.

But of course, there is also a change in user mindset needed. There are still huge numbers of people printing out emails and other documents when an on-screen version would suffice. Naturally, there are times when a hard copy is essential, but a faster move to digitization is needed. Suvir's work shows the financial savings are there to be made, and there are also environmental concerns to factor it.

So -- do your bit... switch to Garamond in draft mode!

Image Credit: komar_off / Shutterstock

© 1998-2014 BetaNews, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy.