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could switching fonts save the govt millions?

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A high school kid sure thinks so:

In the new paper, "A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction," Suvir analyzed five documents produced by five U.S. government agencies and estimated how much ink would be used with three typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman and Century Gothic. The analysis estimated that using 12-point Garamond would save about 29 percent in ink costs.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140328_ap_ee0869bc41734999a87cae9006de2c13.html

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Yeah, but that's dumb and assuming a lot:

- All of government printing is done with ink

- "Government" is a single entity

- People would switch their default fonts from Times to Garamond

- Garamond would provide a similar level of readibility to Times (it wouldn't)

- A change like that could be implemented swiftly and comprehensively at any organization

It's nice that in these times a teenager's thought experiment can be the Internet thing of the day, but as with most things, it's more complicated than a quick cost comparison.

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youre_serious_futurama.gif

Like DG said, a lot of assumptions. Plus, wouldn't you know the government would screw it up anyway?

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- Garamond would provide a similar level of readibility to Times (it wouldn't)

Right, Garamond would improve the legibility greatly.

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- Garamond would provide a similar level of readibility to Times (it wouldn't)

Right, Garamond would improve the legibility greatly.

But I disagree! I think Garamond is a far more handsome font than Times. I'd use it for a wedding program, a nice poster, or a number of design-centric applications. However, for use in a printed document, I'd much rather have the heavier-weight Times. To me, it's a far more accessible, straight-forward font, especially at smaller sizes.

garamondtimescomparison.png

EDIT:

Here's an even better comparison:

verdanacomp.png

Of all of those, I think Verdana pops the most, but it's an ugly font for reports. Sylfaen might be the best of that bunch, but if it's Times vs. Garamond, there's no choice. Look at the "T" serifs -- Garamond is so much busier.

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You may save ink with Century Gothic, but I'll guess that you'll waste more paper.

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Verdana was designed specifically for reading small type on screens. It looks like crap at anything above 16 point, and looks like crap on paper. Anyone who sets a term paper in Verdana has the aesthetic sensibilities of a robot.

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- Garamond would provide a similar level of readibility to Times (it wouldn't)

Right, Garamond would improve the legibility greatly.

But I disagree! I think Garamond is a far more handsome font than Times. I'd use it for a wedding program, a nice poster, or a number of design-centric applications. However, for use in a printed document, I'd much rather have the heavier-weight Times. To me, it's a far more accessible, straight-forward font, especially at smaller sizes.

garamondtimescomparison.png

EDIT:

Here's an even better comparison:

verdanacomp.png

Of all of those, I think Verdana pops the most, but it's an ugly font for reports. Sylfaen might be the best of that bunch, but if it's Times vs. Garamond, there's no choice. Look at the "T" serifs -- Garamond is so much busier.

The entire purpose of Times New Roman was to be more condensed than other typefaces of the day so they could fit more characters on a page for The Times newspaper. In my opinion that leads to decreased legibility. The large x-height helps, certainly, but your pixelated screen capture does nothing for your argument. The only way to compare here is on printed paper.

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Verdana was designed specifically for reading small type on screens. It looks like crap at anything above 16 point, and looks like crap on paper. Anyone who sets a term paper in Verdana has the aesthetic sensibilities of a robot.

But it adds so many page numbers!

(just for clarification, I'm not guilty of this)

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Don't forget the whole point behind the study. This author didn't necessarily say Garamond would be more readable or more visually pleasing, but it would save the government money in ink costs.

Admittedly, his claim is not false. Garamond indeed is thinner and less space-consuming than TImes New Roman and Century Gothic, which in turn would use less ink to print. Also, just because Garamond isn't as readable as TImes New Roman doesn't mean Garamond won't do or is unreadable. The amount of readability you lose using Garamond isn't that great to deem it unacceptable for printing.

Point blank, I agree with the author and his study. The author said nothing about readability and the study was not about readability. The study was about ink costs, and I can see the validity in the claim he was actually making. Also, there's not that big of a dropoff between Garamond and Times New Roman. When you weigh what you lose versus what you gain, I agree that moving to Garamond for printing would be a good move.

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Here's a well thought out "counter point" if you will: http://www.thomasphinney.com/2014/03/saving-400m-font/

He basically says that to truly compare which typeface will save money you have to eliminate all other variables, some of which have been debated here.

I think what's causing some dissention is that the version of Garamond that comes with Microsoft Office is smaller at the same point size than Times New Roman. Other versions of Garamond are larger, more similar in size to TNR.

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