Skip to main content

Times New Roman®

By Monotype

In 1931, The Times of London commissioned a new text type design from Stanley Morison and the Monotype Corporation, after Morison had written an article criticizing The Times for being badly printed and typographically behind the times. The new design was supervised by Stanley Morison and drawn by Victor Lardent, an artist from the advertising department of The Times. Morison used an older typeface, Plantin, as the basis for his design, but made revisions for legibility and economy of space (always important concerns for newspapers). As the old type used by the newspaper had been called Times Old Roman," Morison's revision became "Times New Roman." The Times of London debuted the new typeface in October 1932, and after one year the design was released for commercial sale. The Linotype version, called simply "Times," was optimized for line-casting technology, though the differences in the basic design are subtle. The typeface was very successful for the Times of London, which used a higher grade of newsprint than most newspapers. The better, whiter paper enhanced the new typeface's high degree of contrast and sharp serifs, and created a sparkling, modern look. In 1972, Walter Tracy designed Times Europa for The Times of London. This was a sturdier version, and it was needed to hold up to the newest demands of newspaper printing: faster presses and cheaper paper. In the United States, the Times font family has enjoyed popularity as a magazine and book type since the 1940s. Times continues to be very popular around the world because of its versatility and readability. And because it is a standard font on most computers and digital printers, it has become universally familiar as the office workhorse. Times?, Times? Europa, and Times New Roman? are sure bets for proposals, annual reports, office correspondence, magazines, and newspapers.
Linotype offers many versions of this font:
Times? is the universal version of Times, used formerly as the matrices for the Linotype hot metal line-casting machines. The basic four weights of roman, italic, bold and bold italic are standard fonts on most printers. There are also small caps, Old style Figures, phonetic characters, and Central European characters.
Times? Ten is the version specially designed for smaller text (12 point and below); its characters are wider and the hairlines are a little stronger. Times Ten has many weights for Latin typography, as well as several weights for Central European, Cyrillic, and Greek typesetting.
Times? Eighteen is the headline version, ideal for point sizes of 18 and larger. The characters are subtly condensed and the hairlines are finer."

Stanley Morison, typographic advisor to Monotype, was also made typographic advisor to The Times of London newspaper in 1929. One of his first responsibilities in the latter position was to redesign the newspaper. Several existing typestyles were tried as replacements for the typeface the newspaper had been using for years; but Morison and The Times executive staff found them unsuitable for one reason or another. The decision was then made to create a new, custom, design.

The criteria was simple: the new design would have to appear larger than its predecessor, could take up no more space, should be slightly heavier and, ultimately, must be highly legible. Morison felt that basing the new design on the Plantin® design would begin to satisfy much of the criteria. He provided Victor Lardent, a Monotype designer, with photographs of Plantin specimens and a list of instructions. The two worked together as art director and designer on the project for over two years.

The new design was first used in The Times newspaper in 1932 and was then offered to the public as commercial fonts in 1933.

Since The Times used both Monotype and Linotype machines to set type for its issues, a second, almost identical design, was produced by Linotype for their typesetters. The Times Roman typeface was the result of this design effort. Over the years, Times New Roman has been translated into phototype and digital fonts.

The Times New Roman design enjoyed another surge of popularity when it became one of the stable of typefaces routinely bundled with computer operating systems and productivity software.

There are few situations outside of Times New Roman’s range of usage. It is an exceptional text typeface that has been used to set books, periodicals, annual reports, brochures – and even newspapers. In addition, Times New Roman can be used to set display typography from an inch high to several feet. The family is also large enough to make typographic hierarchy is easy to create.


Old Style Serif
#42 in Best Sellers