Times New Roman

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Times New Roman-sample.svg
Category Serif
Classification Transitional
Designer(s) Victor Lardent
Commissioned by The Times
Foundry Monotype
Date released 1931
License Proprietary

Times New Roman is a serif typeface commissioned by the British newspaper The Times in 1931, created by Victor Lardent.[1] It was commissioned after Stanley Morison of the English branch of printing equipment company Monotype criticised the Times for being poorly printed and typographically antiquated.[2][3][lower-alpha 1][6][7]

The font was supervised by Morison and drawn by Victor Lardent, an artist from the advertising department of The Times, before final refinement by the Monotype drawing office team. Morison proposed an older typeface named Plantin as the basis for the design, but revisions were made to increase legibility and economy of space. The new design made its debut in the 3 October 1932 issue of The Times newspaper.[8] After one year, the design was released for commercial sale. The Times stayed with Times New Roman for 40 years, but new production techniques and the format change from broadsheet to tabloid in 2004 have caused the newspaper to switch typeface five times since 1972. However, all the new fonts have been variants of the original New Roman typeface.

Some experts believe that the design was based on an earlier original work of William Starling Burgess.[9] This theory remains controversial.[10]

Although no longer used by The Times, Times New Roman is still frequent in book typography, particularly in mass-market paperbacks in the United States. Especially because of its adoption in Microsoft products, it has become one of the most widely used typefaces in history.

Monotype retail versions

Times New Roman

Monotype sells a wider range of styles and optical sizes than are offered with Windows, in order to meet the needs of newspapers which print at a range of text sizes.[6] Its current release includes Regular, Medium, Semi Bold and Bold weights with matching italics, Extra Bold, Condensed (in regular, italic and bold), Seven (for smaller text, in regular, italic, bold and bold italic) and Small Text (for very small text, in regular, italic and bold).[11] These versions include professional features such as small caps and text figures. Additional releases exist for different specific languages and character sets.

Times New Roman World

This is a version based on fonts released with Windows Vista.[12] It includes fonts in WGL character sets, Hebrew and Arabic characters. Similar to Helvetica World, Arabic in italic fonts are in roman positions.


Monotype also created some caps-only 'titling' designs to match Times New Roman itself, which was intended for body text.[13] While these are not sold by Monotype in digital format, Linotype's Times Eighteen in the same style (see below) remains available and could be used as a subsitute.[14]

Times Hever Titling

An elegant titling caps design, quite different to Times New Roman with a Caslon-influenced A and Garamond-style W. Named after Hever Castle, the home of the Times' owner Lord Astor. Designed early on, it was used by the Times for section headings.[13][15] It has not been digitised.


Times Roman and Times New Roman

Some differences between Linotype's Times Roman and Monotype's Times New Roman typefaces.[16]

Despite Monotype's key role in creating Times New Roman, its rival Linotype rapidly began to offer the design. The cross-licensing was required since the Times used Linotype equipment for much of its production. Linotype referred to the design as Times or Times Roman. Monotype and Linotype have since merged, but slight differences have split the lineage of Times into two subtly different designs.

Although Times New Roman and Times are very similar, various differences developed between the versions marketed by Linotype and Monotype when the master fonts were transferred from metal to photo and digital media. For example, Linotype has slanted serifs on the capital S, while Monotype's are vertical, and Linotype has an extra serif on the number 5.[17] Most of these differences are invisible in body text at normal reading distances, or 10pts at 300 dpi. Subtle competition grew between the two foundries, as the proportions and details as well as the width metrics for their version of Times grew apart.[18] Vivid differences between the two versions do occur in the lowercase z in the italic weight (Times Linotype has a curl also followed in the STIX revival, Times New Roman is straight) and in the percent sign in all weights. (Linotype and STIX have a stroke connecting up the left-hand zero with a slash, Times New Roman does not.)

Linotype licensed its version to Xerox and IBM, then Adobe and Apple, guaranteeing its importance in digital printing by making it one of the core fonts of the PostScript page description language.[19] Microsoft's version of Times New Roman is licensed from Monotype, hence the original name. For compatibility, Monotype had to subtly redraw their design to match the widths from the Adobe/Linotype version.[20] It has the lighter capitals that were originally developed for printing German (where all nouns begin with a capital letter). Versions of Times New Roman from Monotype exist which vary from the Linotype metrics (i.e. not the same as the version for Microsoft). In addition, the original digitisation of Times New Roman omits automatic ligature insertion, which the version of Times installed with OS X has. (This results in unsightly character collisions with the system version of Times New Roman whenever the characters 'fi' are needed.)

Linotype applied for registration of the trademark name Times Roman and received registration status in 1945. In the 1980s, there was an attempt by a group of entrepreneurs to seek from Rupert Murdoch, who owned The Times, the right to use the Times Roman name; separately, a legal action was also initiated to clarify the right of Monotype to use the name in the US despite Linotype's registration. As a result of legal action, Linotype and its licensees continued to use the name Times Roman, while Monotype and its licensees used the name Times New Roman.[18]

Like Monotype, Linotype released additional versions of Times for different text sizes. These include:

  • Times Ten is a version specially designed for smaller text (12 point and below). It features wider characters and stronger hairlines.[21][22]
  • Times Eighteen, a headline version for point sizes of 18 and larger. The characters are subtly condensed and the hairlines are finer. The current version has no italics, but does have a lower case (whereas some Times titling fonts were capitals only).[14]
  • Times Europa Office, a 2006 adaptation of the Times newspaper's 1972 design Times Europa (see below). This is a complete family of designs intended for use on poor-quality paper. The updating, created by Akira Kobayashi, contains tabular numbers, mathematical signs, and currency symbols. Each character has the same advanced width in all the fonts in the family so that changing from regular to bold or italic does not affect word wrap.[23]

Times 4-line Mathematics Series 569

This is a variant designed for printing mathematical formulae, using the 4‑line system for mathematics developed by Monotype in 1957.[24][25] This modified version of Times Roman was designed for use as part of Monotype's 4-line Mathematics system. The major changes to the Times Roman typeface itself were a reduction in the slope of italic characters to 12 degrees from 16 degrees, so as to reduce the need for kerning, and a change in the form of italic v and w so that italic v could be more easily distinguished from a Greek nu.

The 4-line system involved casting characters for 10-point Times Roman on 6-point bodies. The top of the character would overhang the slug, forming a kern which was less fragile than the normal kerns of foundry type, as it was on a slab of cast metal. This technique had been in previous use on Monotype machines, usually involving double-height matrices, to allow the automatic setting of "advertising figures" (numbers that occupy two or more lines, usually to clearly indicate a price in an advertisement set in small type). This meant that the same matrix could be used for both superscript and subscript numbers. More importantly, it allowed a variable or other item to have both a superscript and a subscript at the same time, one above the other, without inordinate difficulty.

Previously, while the Monotype system, due to its flexibility, was widely used for setting mathematical formulas, the typeface Modern Series 7 was usually used for this purpose.[26] Because of the popularity of Times Roman at the time, Monotype chose to design a variant of Times Roman suited to mathematical composition, and recut many additional characters needed for mathematics, including special symbols as well as Greek and Fraktur alphabets, to accompany the system instead of designing it around the typeface that was being used, for which characters were already available. Matrices for some 700 characters were available as part of Times Roman Series 569 when it was released in 1958, with new characters constantly being added for over a decade afterwards (thus, in 1971, 8,000 characters were included, and new ones were being added at a rate of about 5 per week).

Series 727 and 827

Monotype also produced Series 727, in which the heavier strokes of upper-case letters were made slightly thinner. This was done to produce a lighter effect in which capital letters do not stand out so much, and was particularly intended for German use, since in the German language capitals are far more common since they appear at the start of each noun. Series 827 modified some letters (notably the R) to correspond to their appearance in other typefaces popular in French printing. This production of alternates to suit national tastes was common at the time, and many alternates were also offered for Gill Sans for use in Europe.[27]


A modified 4¾ point size of Times Roman was produced by Monotype for use in printing matter requiring a very small size of type. Listed as Times Newspaper Smalls, available as either Series 333 or 335, it was also referred to by the name Claritas.[6]

Other typefaces used by The Times

The Times' previous typeface from an article describing the Balfour Declaration in 1917.

From 1908 to 1932, The Times used a Didone serif font cut by Monotype, the same as or similar to Monotype Modern.[7] The Times newspaper has commissioned various successors to Times New Roman:

  • Times Europa was designed by Walter Tracy in 1972 for The Times, as a sturdier alternative to the Times font family, designed for the demands of faster printing presses and cheaper paper. The typeface features more open counter spaces and a more strongly contrasting, calligraphic italic. It has been released commercially by Adobe, among others, recently in an updating by Linotype.[28]
  • Times Roman replaced Times Europa on 30 August 1982.[29]
  • Times Millennium was made in 1991, drawn by Gunnlaugur Briem on the instructions of Aurobind Patel, composing manager of News International.[29][lower-alpha 2]
  • Times Classic first appeared in 2001.[31] Designed as an economical face by the British type team of Dave Farey and Richard Dawson, it took advantage of the new PC-based publishing system at the newspaper, while obviating the production shortcomings of its predecessor Times Millennium. The new typeface included 120 letters per font. Initially the family comprised ten fonts, but a condensed version was added in 2004.
  • Times Modern was unveiled on 20 November 2006, as the successor of Times Classic.[29] Designed for improving legibility in smaller font sizes, it uses 45-degree angled bracket serifs. It was designed by Research Studios, led by designer Neville Brody with input from Ben Preston, the Times' deputy editor.[32]

During the Times New Roman period the Times also sometimes used Perpetua Titling, also from Monotype.[13]


Times New Roman has been used for a wide range of newspapers around the world. In addition:

William Starling Burgess

In 1994, the printing historian Mike Parker published evidence that the design of Times New Roman was based on a 1904 design of William Starling Burgess.[9] This theory remains controversial.[10] The Times Online web site credits the design to "Stanley Morrison, Cameron Latham and perhaps Starling Burgess".[38][39] In 1904 Burgess created a type design for company documents at his shipyard in Marblehead, Mass. and hired Lanston Monotype to issue it.[39] However Burgess abandoned the idea and Monotype shelved the sketches, until decades later when Canadian printer Gerald Giampa stumbled upon them in 1987, after he had purchased Lanston Monotype.[39] Giampa then asked Mike Parker to complete the type which was issued in June 2009.[39]

Monotype executive Dan Rhatigan described the theory as implausible in 2011: "I'll admit that I tend to side with the more fully documented (both in general, and in agreement with what little I can find within Monotype to support it) notion that Times New Roman was based on Plantin...I won't rule out the possibility that Starling Burgess drew up the concept first, but Occam's razor makes me doubt it."[5]

Designs inspired by Times New Roman

File:Pelham Infant.jpg
Pelham Infant
Size and spacing comparisons of the Georgia and Times New Roman typefaces.

Because of its popularity, the typeface has been influential in the subsequent development of a number of serif typefaces both before and after the start of the digital-font era. One notable example is Georgia, shown right, which has very similar stroke shapes to Times New Roman but wider serifs.

  • Times Modern was a condensed and bold display variant published by, among others, Elsner+Flake. It was withdrawn from sale due to trademark disputes with the Times newspaper, which owns its own unrelated design named 'Times Modern' (see above).[40]
  • CG Times is a variant of Times family made by Compugraphic Corporation foundry.
  • Pelham is a version of Times Roman by DTP Types of Britain, which also cut an infant version with single-story versions of the letters a and g.

Free alternatives

Error creating thumbnail: File with dimensions greater than 25 MP
Comparison between Times New Roman and Liberation Serif, showing its much squarer design.

Times Roman and Times New Roman are proprietary fonts.[41] There are some free software metric-compatible fonts used as free Times Roman and Times New Roman alternatives or used for font substitution:

  • URW++ produced a version of Times New Roman called Nimbus Roman in 1982. Nimbus Roman No9 L, URW's PostScript variant, was released under the GNU General Public License in 1996,[42][43] and available in major free and open source operating systems. This was later adapted as FreeSerif.[41][44] Like Times New Roman, many additional styles of Nimbus Roman exist that are only sold commercially, including condensed and extra-bold styles. URW also developed Nimbus Roman No. 4, which is metrically compatible with the slightly different CG Times.
  • The STIX Fonts project is a four-style set of open-source fonts. They were created for scientific publishing by the Scientific and Technical Information Exchange consortium of publishers, but are also very suitable for general use, including Greek and Cyrillic support.[45] The family is installed by default on Mac OS X.
  • Liberation Serif is metrically equivalent to Times New Roman. It was developed by Ascender Corp. and published by Red Hat in 2007 under the GPL license with some exceptions.[46] It is used in some GNU/Linux distributions as a default font replacement for Times New Roman.[47] It is the only metrically identical substitute to differ significantly in design: widths aside, it does not particularly resemble Times New Roman, being much squarer in shape with less fine detail.
  • Google's Tinos in the Croscore fonts package is a derivation and expansion of Liberation Serif, also designed by Steve Matteson.

See also


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  16. http://www.creativepro.com/blog/typetalk-times-roman-vs-times-new-roman
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  24. Daniel Rhatigan, Three Typefaces for Setting Mathematics
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  1. Its previous font was a dated and somewhat spindly Didone/Scotch Roman design. Now little-known, the success of its replacement has led to it sometimes being called Times Old Roman in reference to its successor and a famous cover of Monotype's trade journal Monotype Recorder. The Monotype Recorder of 1936 reports that it was cut by Monotype in 1908 based on 1850s typefaces cut by Miller & Richard.[4][5]
  2. Briem has written that a complicated three-way lawsuit followed in which Patel unsuccessfully claimed to have co-designed Times Millennium himself.[30]

External links