The Magnificent Times New Roman

Gunarta's picture

Hi People,

I would like to tell you how magnificent Times New Roman in Indonesia is. Times New Roman (especially in 12 point for body text) is very standard in various writing. Every scientific writings, school assignments, government documents, law documents and other non-casual non-modular (i.e like advertisement etc) should use Times New Roman. I ever created a assignment in Georgia and my teacher in high school rejected my assignment. In every single University in Indonesia, all of scientific writing (minithesis, thesis, dissertation, paper etc) must be printed in Times New Roman 12. I don't know how why people standardize and convene Time New Roman as the one and only formal serif font that able to use in Indonesia. This kind of 'natural' convention is really irritating me.

Did this happen in other country? What about western countries?

Gunarta

quadibloc's picture

Times New Roman is certainly very common, and some colleges in North America do insist on its use for theses. Law courts in the United States instead demand Century Schoolbook in some cases, if I remember correctly.

I think Times Roman is a very well-designed typeface, probably warranting the adjective "magnificent", as I feel it bids fair to have the same level of popularity as Caslon did. However, I'm not overly fond of Times Titling.

Just because it's a very good typeface, however, is not a good reason to overuse it to the exclusion of all else. Garamond, Baskerville, Century Expanded, and Caledonia are all very good alternate choices for body copy.

Nick Shinn's picture

And there are even some quite acceptable faces that have been designed in the last 75 years.

JamesM's picture

> I ever created a assignment in Georgia and my
> teacher in high school rejected my assignment.

That doesn't mean that Times was necessarily the best choice; there are other reasons why a teacher may require a particular font .

Specifying a standard format may reduce the number of questions the teacher gets about formatting. It prevents students from making poor font choices that are hard to read. Also it's easier for the teacher to visually judge the length if all students are using the same font and size.

> is very standard in various writing

It's a fine typeface, but things become "the standard" often just because a lot of people are using them, not because they are necessarily the best choice.

quadibloc's picture

@Nick Shinn:
And there are even some quite acceptable faces that have been designed in the last 75 years.

True, but it takes so long for a typeface to become recognized and well-known.

I know, though, that by trotting out the tired old choices that everyone has been using for ages, I am being terribly unfair to contemporary type designers who are trying to make a living. Still, I assume typographers who are looking for something novel and unique are able to find them, despite my lack of help.

And it's something of a sad reflection that even more use of 75-year-old typefaces as alternatives to Times Roman would be an improvement on its current level of overuse, the merit I find in it notwithstanding.

Here are a few examples I found quickly:

Aragon
Baltica
Magna
Minister
Timeless
Brigade
Impressum
El Castillo
Kepler
Legitima
CA Normal Serif
Apollo
Grandeur

And then there's Palatino - or Aldus, which might be considered to be Palatino Book - and Imprint, Bembo, Poliphilus, Cloister Lightface, and many other choices.

charles ellertson's picture

As a charter member of the "For my $10, I'll buy a used, Smyth-sewn hardcover edition in near-fine condition rather than any ebook," I get to review a lot of older typefaces. A review done in passing, reading is what's going on.

One conclusion: Times holds up very well indeed. So well I'm making a variation for our shop to use, starting from Nimbus No 9L (for the GPL+FE license). Yes, I'll change it a bit, trying for a look more like the old Linotype fonts with long descenders.

Point is, a lot of the fashionable fonts don't read nearly as well. Style -- fashion -- is often just another form of planned (i.e., artificial) obsolescence.

Nick Shinn's picture

To answer the OP’s question:
There certainly are dominant typefaces in the West (if not quite so omipotent as TNR appears to be in Indonesia).

Two reasons for this:

1. Zipf distribution of typeface popularity.
2. Bundling.

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