To use or not to use? Times New Roman, a debate
Aptly titled “Why You Should Stop Using Times New Roman (Research Explains)” this controversial (and really enjoyable to watch) BrainCraft video by behavioral scientist and science communicator Vanessa Hill dives deep into font research looking for answers.
“Many claim that Times New Roman is the most readable or accessible font – but is this really true?” wonders Hill as she begins to explore the accessibility of Arial, Comic Sans, and fonts like Open Dyslexic. “Is there one that stands out from the rest? Or is the world of typefaces as subjective as our opinions about design?” she asks before embarking into this heavy-in-type short film about the world’s most popular fonts.
Eventually, the opinions regarding Times New Roman and other seminal typefaces differ widely so we couldn’t but start scrolling through the comments to discover more. “I’m a chemistry teacher. The MOST important aspect of a font for me is having I and l look VERY different. Identifying Cl (chlorine) rather than CI (carbon and iodine) is very difficult for beginning students without a clear font” reads one of the most-liked comments.
“There is one aspect that was totally missed as an argument in this video: Times covers almost any character there is. When you are writing academic texts, Latin characters get constantly interrupted with Greek characters, the whole thing needs to be in harmony with mathematical expressions and there are also many author names with strange diacritical marks. Times has you covered. There is almost nothing that cannot be typeset in Times. Sans serif fonts on the other hand … well, that is an adventurous journey along all those empty spaces in the character table that aren’t occupied. You may think of Times as a boring typeface, but it is nevertheless the most advanced typeface in terms of available characters” comments another.
“Don't care about serif vs sans-serif. The only thing is for sure: fonts, where uppercase ‘I’ and lowercase ‘L’ look the same, should be banned by the Geneva human rights convention” notes a YouTube user on the controversial video.
Popular by demand or not, press play and enter the debate after the jump.
Commissioned by the British newspaper The Times in 1931 and conceived by Stanley Morison, the artistic adviser to the British branch of the printing equipment company Monotype, in collaboration with Victor Lardent, a lettering artist in The Times's advertising department, Times New Roman is a serif typeface that is installed on most desktop computers and has become one of the most popular typefaces of all time. The design made its debut in The Times on 3 October 1932 and was released for commercial use after one year.
In Times New Roman’s name, Roman is a reference to the regular or roman style (sometimes also called Antiqua), the first part of the Times New Roman family to be designed. Roman type has roots in Italian printing of the late 15th and early 16th centuries, but Times New Roman's design has no connection to Rome or to the Romans.
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 it to switch typeface five times from 1972 to 2007. However, all the new fonts have been variants of the original New Roman typeface.
Times New Roman, a default font in Microsoft Word for years, remains popular in publishing, helped by the extremely large range of characters available for international and mathematics printing. For example, the American Psychological Association suggests using Times New Roman in papers written in its APA style — interestingly enough, the Supreme Court forbids the use of Times New Roman.