Where Did Times New Roman Come From? | NY Public Library

Where Did Times New Roman Come From? | The New York Public Library.

London Times-new roman font-1932I found this recent post from the blog of the NY Public Library to be fascinating (posted Dec.9, 2014). Have you ever given thought to why and when the Times Roman font became revised? Do you know how far back the “Roman” type goes?

Perhaps not, but the answer is worth reading about if you appreciate comfort to the eyes when you read, whether it be newspaper, book – or tablet.

I don’t like to admit it, but I did not realize the “new” part goes all the way back to 1932, nor that that “Times” part of the font referred to a newspaper – and not in the U.S. either!

There’s enough interesting print history to satisfy all here. I hope you do “read all about it”. You will benefit greatly. And the bonus is some great pictures, as well as a link to NYPL’s rare book section.

This post was done by Meredith Mann, Rare Book Division of the NY Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

If you open up your word processing software and start typing, chances are you’re looking at Times New Roman. It’s so ubiquitous that we take it for granted, but just like Spider-Man orWolverine, this super-typeface has its own origin story.

You might be surprised to learn that Times New Roman began as a challenge, when esteemed type designer Stanley Morison criticized London’s newspaper The Times for being out-of-touch with modern typographical trends. SoThe Times asked him to create something better. Morison enlisted the help of draftsman Victor Lardent and began conceptualizing a new typeface with two goals in mind: efficiency—maximizing the amount of type that would fit on a line and thus on a page—and readability. Morison wanted any printing in his typeface to be economical, a necessity in the newspaper business, but he also wanted the process of reading to be easy on the eye.

And here’s an interesting paragraph about how this font found its way into books:

In 1932, The Times specifically noted that their new typeface was not intended for books: “It is a newspaper type—and hardly a book type—for it is strictly appointed for use in short lines—i.e., in columns.” They later developed a wider version adapted to fit a book’s longer lines of text. This idea that the use of a typeface affects its form struck me as very relevant to today’s world of e-book publishing and web-based content. Indeed, Times New Roman’s chief competitors these days are Arial and Calibri, two typefaces whose lack of serifs makes them easier to read on a screen, according to many. But at 82 years old, Times New Roman is still going strong and proving that our humblest word processing friends have some pretty historic beginnings.

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