Stanley Morison

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

Stanley Morison (6 May 1889 – 11 October 1967) was a British typographer, designer and historian of printing. He was one of the most influential type-designers of the 20th century, having commissioned the Times New Roman typeface (1931) and several historical revivals for the Monotype Corporation.

Early life and career

Stanley Morison was born in Britain on 6 May 1889, at Wanstead, Essex, but spent most of his childhood and early adult years (1896–1912) in London at the family home in Fairfax Road, Harringay.[1] He was self-taught, having left school after his father abandoned his family.

In 1913, Morison became an editorial assistant on The Imprint magazine.

During the First World War he was a conscientious objector, and was interned.

In 1918, he became design supervisor at the Pelican Press. This was followed by a similar position at the Cloister Press.[2] In 1922, he was a founder-member of the Fleuron Society, dedicated to typographic matters (a fleuron being a typographic flower or ornament). He edited the society's journal, The Fleuron, from 1925 to 1930. The quality of the publication's artwork and printing was considered exceptional. From 1923 to 1925, he was also a staff editor/writer for the Penrose Annual, a graphic arts journal.[2]

With the Monotype Corporation

From 1923 to 1967, Morison was a typographic consultant for the Monotype Corporation. In the 1920s and 1930s, his work at Monotype included research and adaptation of historic typefaces, including the revival of the Baskerville, Blado (1923) and Bembo (1929) types. He pioneered the great expansion of the company's range of typefaces, and hugely influenced the field of typography to the present day.[2] (But his notes in his A Tally of Types about his early days with Monotype and its program of typographic revivals are not always correct.)[3]

Times New Roman

Morison was also typographical consultant to The Times newspaper from 1929 to 1960; and in 1931, having publicly criticised the paper for the poor quality of its printing, he was commissioned by the newspaper to produce a new, easy-to-read typeface for the publication. Times New Roman, the typeface which Morison developed with graphic artist Victor Lardent, was first used by the newspaper in 1932 and was issued commercially by Monotype in 1933.[4][5] Morison edited the History of the Times from 1935 to 1952, and was editor of The Times Literary Supplement between 1945 and 1948.

Later career

In 1960, Morison was elected a Royal Designer for Industry. He was a member of the editorial board of Encyclopædia Britannica from 1961 until his death in 1967 in London. He was offered a knighthood in 1953 and the CBE in 1962, but declined both.[6]

He died on 11 October 1967.

Selected publications

  • Four centuries of Fine Printing; Two Hundred and Seventy-two Examples of the Work of Presses Established Between 1465 and 1924, 1924
  • Type Designs of the Past and Present, 1926
  • English newspaper : Some account of the physical development of journals printed in London between 1622 & the present day, 1932
  • First Principles of Typography, 1936
  • A Tally of Types, 1953
  • Calligraphy 1535–1885: A collection of seventy-two writing-books and specimens from the Italian, French, Low Countries and Spanish schools, 1962
  • On Type Designs Past and Present: A Brief Introduction, 1962
  • The Typographic Book, 1450–1935: A Study of Fine Typography Through Five Centuries, 1963
  • Letter Forms, typographic and scriptorial: Two essays on their classification, history and bibliography, 1968
  • Politics and Script, 1972
  • Selected Essays on the History of Letter-Forms in Manuscript and Print, Vol. 1 & 2, 1980.

Further reading

  • Mark Argetsinger, A Legacy of Letters, An Assessment of Stanley Morison's Monotype 'Programme of Typographical Design' with specimens ... (2008) [limited edition]
  • Stanley Morison and 'John Fell' (2003. Old School Press, retrieved March 12, 2013)
  • James Moran, Stanley Morison, his typographical achievement (1971)

See also


  1. Stanley Morison, Nicolas Barker, Macmillan, 1972
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Carter, H. G.; rev. David McKitterick (2004). Morison, Stanley Arthur (1889–1967). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. 
  3. James Moran, Stanley Morison, His typographical achievement, 1971, Lund Humphries London, SBN 85331 300 8
  4. "Typolis article". Typolis. 1932-10-03. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  5. Loxley, Simon (2006). Type: the secret history of letters. I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd. pp. 130–131. ISBN 1-84511-028-5. 
  6. Nazia Parveen (26 January 2012). "Revealed, the big names who snubbed honours". London: Retrieved 2012-01-26. 

External links