Steeped in tradition, the Times New Roman® family has been described as one of the most familiar and successful typefaces in the world – and has been used for just about every typographic application imaginable. Times New Roman is considered an exceptionally legible design that translates well to hard copy and on-screen environments.
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.