Teen to government: Change your typeface, save millions

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Gutwrench, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Gutwrench Contributor


    Jan 2, 2011
  2. iBlazed macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2014
    New Jersey, United States
    When flyers are printed en masse I highly doubt they're paying retail for those crappy little HP ink cartridges, nor are they using inkjet printers. Toner is a lot cheaper, especially generic toner. So the French perfume comparison isn't really valid.
  3. Gutwrench thread starter Contributor


    Jan 2, 2011
    A worthwhile point. Here's another...

  4. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    Great job by the student. However, I'm sure the government will find a way to ignore or discount the study just like iBlazed did.:rolleyes:
  5. iBlazed macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2014
    New Jersey, United States
    How did I discount or ignore it? I'm just providing a perfectly valid counter-argument.


    I agree that a study like this is very impressive for a 6th grader and this kid probably has a bright future ahead of him. I'm just saying there are other points to take into consideration. I didn't realize it was forbidden to counter a 12 year old. :rolleyes:
  6. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    I thought that was clever. The way I do it myself is by printing everything in draft mode. I also used to change the settings to print my notes/sentences/etc so that two pages would be side by side on one page when I was in high school.

    Garamond is my favorite font too. Used with nice spacing and margins, it's great.
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    It has long been known that Garamond is one of the most legible fonts available. Likewise, it also has long been known that Garamond is a much more environmentally friendly font - precisely because it uses less ink - than many others.

    Personally, it is my favourite, one that I love and use most of the time, on account of its elegance, and legibility. However, I have noticed that - online - it doesn't seem to work quite as well as some of the other fonts.
  8. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    And? The French perfume comparison is just an anecdote to show how expensive ink is. It doesn't discount or change his study or point at all.

    The kid did his research. Sure, the government buys wholesale, but he took account of that in his calculations.

    "Using the General Services Administration's estimated annual cost of ink -- $467 million -- Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30% -- or $136 million per year. An additional $234 million could be saved annually if state governments also jumped on board, he reported."

    The biggest problem here is that Garamond isn't a font that's free or pre-installed on most computers, so there would be a cost associated with switching to this font at the beginning. However, in the long term, the savings would roll in.
  9. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    This made me chuckle from a comment on Gizmodo:

  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    While my favourite font is Garamond, and I cherish its clarity, love its legibility, and revere its elegance, when choosing a font for a large corporation, or Government, cost would not be my first, or main criterion; instead, legibility would, with cost a secondary consideration.

    Granted, Garamond wins on both counts. However, official documentation from a Government needs to pass the test of whether it is easy to read, and is clearly laid out and reads easy to the eye, and this argument must be won, before a further argument is made for adopting it mainly because it saves state money.
  11. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    As I know nothing about fonts, I'm sure that I'm about to embarrass myself with my question...so be gentle if this is stupid.

    I'm partial to Helvetica...I find it very clean, simple and easy to read. I'm not familiar with Garamond...but wouldn't the simplest, least adorned typeface use the least ink?

    Also...isn't Helvetica available on most computers already?

    See...I told you it was a dopey question!:eek:

  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Well, this is what Garamond looks like; it is an old but elegant typeface, and I came across it a good few years ago in a beautiful edition I bought of Dante's 'Divine Comedy'.

    Personally, I don't much care for Helvetica; my own favourites are the aforementioned Garamond - which is my own default font and one I use almost all the time - the classic Times New Roman, and Arno Pro, which is a more modern take on the old idea of a classically styled font.
  13. penplotter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2014
    Hey, I've got a way to revolutionise the way the governments spend on ink and paper...

    Send tax demands ONLY by email. :D

    No paper wasted, no ink wasted.
  14. senseless macrumors 68000


    Apr 23, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    When the US government stops spending 2¢ to mint a penny, we'll talk about ink.
  15. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2012
    Spaceball One
    Ecofont would help a lot with this...

    Too bad it's in the same category as comic-sans is in terms of design :D
  16. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    I thought it was more than that, but apparently the cost has dropped in the past few years:
    As of 2013, based on the US Mint Annual Report released in 2014, it costs the U.S. Mint 1.83 cents (down from 2.41 cents in 2011) to make one cent because of the cost of materials, production, and distribution.[4] This figure includes the Mint’s fixed components for distribution and fabrication, as well as Mint overhead allocated to the penny. Fixed costs and overhead would have to be absorbed by other circulating coins without the penny.[5] The loss in profitability due to producing the one cent coin in the United States for the year of 2013 was $55,000,000. This was a slight decrease from 2012, the year before, which had a production loss of $58,000,000.[6]​
    Still, a loss of $55 million is less than the expected savings of $136 million projected for a font change.

    Of course, neither cases considers any follow-on costs, so I'm unsure what the real costs of each would be. I've seen it before in business; some change projected to be a net cost savings ends up having unexpected effects whose costs dwarf the anticipated savings.
  17. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    I seem to recall the guy in charge of killing the penny was a rep from Lincoln's home state.

    I also seem to recall that Apple's font from the 90s was Garamond with a 20% horizontal compression.
  18. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    in other news another middle school student advises against use of capital letters and punctuation to save ink costs when asked whether this might make it difficult to read or understand text he replied no it wouldnt even after being questioned about the following sentence its time to eat mother
  19. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Thank you for posting such a nice example of Garamond. (How'd you do that?)

    The readability of a serif font is indisputable. Sans-serif is fine for headlines and captions, but when serif fonts are used for body copy, kittens purr.

    Garamond is very efficient but to my eye has a dusty/old quality. It's a great, venerable font and very efficient. It's just not to my taste for much besides classical literature.

    Georgia is almost as efficient and IMHO looks a little more modern, but still a bit stodgy.

    A nice compromise font is the very fresh-looking Optima. In terms of efficiency it's between Georgia and Garamond, and it straddles the serif/sans-serif divide.
  20. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Yup.... Here is one for yeah. My wife works for a VA Medical center. She has to run a report that when printed, she uses say pages 60-70. However the report has to print all pages. No there is no print page X to X.

    She put a request in to the programmers to add this functionality. Well they came back with it will cost "X" dollars. The VA did not want to pay for this update, even though the cost savings of having to shred and print this weekly document would be recooped in as little as three weeks! :eek:

    Yup. This sounds about right.
  21. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    The study (sadly) wouldn't hold to up rigorous peer-review. Its a nice idea, and I'm sure that Garamond would save *some* ink. But his sampling was selective, and he ignores a lot of the other factors that go into ink usage.

    First of which is that he assumes the portion related to "ink cost" goes 100% towards printed text. This obviously isn't the case: a great deal of ink used in printing goes towards graphics - photos, maps, diagrams, pie charts, clip art, logos, lines, shading, and the rest.

    Secondly he ignores the other costs involved with changing typefaces. Garamond has its appeal. but its not particularly legible at smaller sizes. The sort of "fine print" that makes up an awful lot of Government bumf.

    And then you've got the cost of redesigning pretty much every form and publication in the Government inventory to accommodate the new typeface. I don't know how much that would cost, but I'm pretty sure it would add up to billions.

    Lastly, the word "font" is not a true synonym for "typeface". Garamond (and helvetica, Times New Roman, Palatino, etc.) are typefaces. "Arial 12 pt. Bold Italic" is a "font" in the "typeface" Arial.
  22. sviato macrumors 68020


    Oct 27, 2010
    HR 9038 A
    How much would it cost to train government representatives to manually change the font in Word? :D
  23. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    They can push a new template with the standard font changed so they don't need to re-train.

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