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Dan McCosh
04-02-2014, 08:57 AM
I heard a short news story the other day about a 14-year-old kid who did a science project that calculated the ink savings from changing the type face used on documents. He calculated the federal government could save hundreds of million annually by changing the type it used. http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/27/living/student-money-saving-typeface-garamond-schools/
It seemed a little strange, as it didn't seem you could save all that much ink just by redesigning the type. Regardless, the story ran nationally, then internationally. The kid's paper was cited by a group from Harvard specializing in new startups. Fox News like it because it made the government look like a spendthrift. The internet was on fire.
When I looked at the kid's paper, it was obvious that he was comparing a larger type face with a smaller one. His dramatic discovery was that it took less ink to make a smaller letter than a larger one. In fact, I have seen newspapers and magazines make their type smaller to save production costs, since you can get more words on a page. On the other hand, it is harder to read.
What struck me is how many people, from the kid's teacher, through the major news organizations, to a Harvard peer group, ran and amplified the story, apparently without looking at the kid's paper, or at least looking at the type faces he was comparing.
It says something about how information, and misinformation, gets a momentum of its own, kicked along by ideological positions, the daily news cycle, etc.
"Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?"

elf
04-02-2014, 09:02 AM
I suppose that's one reason the ugly array of sans serif fonts have taken over the world. All those little serifs just drive up costs!

Gerarddm
04-02-2014, 09:02 AM
a) Years ago, the masthead of the NYTimes included a period after the word 'Times'. Somebody calculated they could save X$ on ink every year by eliminating the period, so they did. Thus was the story told.

b) #1 reminds me of that great Don Henley song, Dirty Laundry: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h0xr31XbSOU

Breakaway
04-02-2014, 10:28 AM
This is 4-point Times New Roman, what the Gov't currently uses.

This is Garamond in 4-point. " Same Size" but in reality smaller, due to the vagaries of font size measuring. One would, as Dan stated, have to go to a larger point Garamond to get a size that's equivalent to Times New Roman, though this 5-point Garamond is now too big...

In the end, its a more complex problem than can be solved with a quick and dirty solution, despite "proof" to the contrary. In fact, its more like a solution looking for a problem.

Kevin

John of Phoenix
04-02-2014, 10:42 AM
IKEA’s epic Swedish fontroversy (http://arts.nationalpost.com/2011/11/03/ikeas-epic-swedish-fontroversy/)
Fonts are all the rage.

Dan McCosh
04-02-2014, 04:16 PM
For me, the issue wasn't the font per se. I was amazed at how far and how large the non-story became in a short time. It multiplied through most of the major news networks for several days. Anyone could have glanced at the type mentioned and seen the difference in size. Somehow it reminded me of Powell holding up the model airplane in the UN.

Old Dryfoot
04-02-2014, 07:41 PM
How many offices are using inkjets over laser printers? Not many I suspect.

There is a legit way to save however by simply printing in draft mode. Easy and verifiable results with no noticeable difference.

ljb5
04-02-2014, 10:05 PM
When I looked at the kid's paper, it was obvious that he was comparing a larger type face with a smaller one.



I think you're missing the kid's point. First, he does address the size issue.

But really, he's just saying all things being equal and making no other changes, and complying with the government recommendations concerning use of fonts, making this one change would result in using less ink.

It would be interesting to figure out why Garramond is smaller than Times New Roman. (Is it because Garramond is actually easier to read at smaller sizes, or just because font size is poorly standardized.) But that's a topic for another paper.

Dan McCosh
04-03-2014, 08:32 AM
I think you're missing the kid's point. First, he does address the size issue.

But really, he's just saying all things being equal and making no other changes, and complying with the government recommendations concerning use of fonts, making this one change would result in using less ink.

It would be interesting to figure out why Garramond is smaller than Times New Roman. (Is it because Garramond is actually easier to read at smaller sizes, or just because font size is poorly standardized.) But that's a topic for another paper. It's actually not hard to figure out. The "savings" are virtually non-existant if the type faces are the same size. FWIW, Font size is not the size of the type--something that printers,etc., are familiar with. Garramond is not smaller than Times New Roman. Either type face can be larger than the other. The easy way to see if one is larger than the other is to look at the two. You could also measure them.

oznabrag
04-03-2014, 09:56 AM
It's actually not hard to figure out. The "savings" are virtually non-existant if the type faces are the same size. FWIW, Font size is not the size of the type--something that printers,etc., are familiar with. Garramond is not smaller than Times New Roman. Either type face can be larger than the other. The easy way to see if one is larger than the other is to look at the two. You could also measure them.

I am pretty sure LJ is talking about the size of 4 point Garamond as compared to 4 point NTR.

Dan McCosh
04-04-2014, 03:46 PM
I am pretty sure LJ is talking about the size of 4 point Garamond as compared to 4 point NTR. Maybe, but the notion that a point size isn't a measure of the size of the type becomes quickly apparent when you look at them side-by-side. If you don't, you go on to lots of other conclusions and end up on international TV.