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History and free alternatives of Times New Roman font

If you've ever typed on a computer, you're undoubtedly familiar with Times New Roman font, a distinguished serif typeface that has enjoyed popularity for over forty years, originating with the renowned British newspaper, The Times.In this article, I will recommend free alternatives to Times New Roman font and share the story of Times New Roman and The Times.

Free alternatives to Times New Roman font

Times New Roman's journey from a revolutionary newspaper typeface to a ubiquitous digital font reflects its enduring legacy and influence in the world of typography.Additionally, there are many free alternatives to Times New Roman font, such as Nimbus Roman and others:

  1. Lora
  2. Source Serif
  3. EB Garamond
  4. Noto Serif
  5. PT Serif

You can preview these fonts on our Fontapp and start using them with just one click.

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The Transformation of Newspaper Fonts

In the 1920s, some in the printing and publishing industry believed that the high contrast in stroke weights characteristic of modern serif typefaces compromised their readability and clarity in small sizes, such as those used in newspaper printing. Linotype addressed this concern in 1925 by introducing Lonic, a typeface specifically designed for newspapers, which quickly gained traction in the industry.

Noticing these changes, The Times invited type designer Stanley Morison in 1929 to provide design recommendations. In his report, Morison did not hold back, criticizing The Times for its poor print quality and outdated typography, and recommending a more readable typeface. Consequently, The Times commissioned Morison and his Monotype team, including Victor Lardent from The Times’ advertising department, to design a new typeface. This typeface would become Times New Roman font.

Design Philosophy of Times New Roman Font

Stanley Morison envisioned a typeface with robust design and excellent readability, aiming to minimize character spacing to maximize space efficiency, a crucial factor for newspaper layout. After evaluating various typefaces, Morison chose Plantin as the foundation for the new design. He wanted the new typeface to feature relatively sharp serifs and to closely resemble the previous Times Old Roman typeface, hence the name Times New Roman font.

Times New Roman font inherited Plantin’s modern appearance but had narrower characters, enhancing space efficiency for newspaper printing. The serifs of Times New Roman font were also sharper compared to Plantin’s. To ensure readability, Morison subjected the typeface to tests by ophthalmological institutions and had The Times support tests under both natural and artificial light. His efforts paid off, and Times New Roman font emerged as one of history’s most successful typefaces.

In 1932, The Times officially adopted Times New Roman font and improved its print quality, stunning readers with the new typeface. The Times used Times New Roman for the next forty years.

Different Versions of the Times Typeface

Although Monotype owned the copyright for Times New Roman font, Linotype also produced this typeface under the name Times Roman. There were slight differences between the two versions, such as the serif angles on the capital letter 'S' and the stroke weight of the italic 'z'.

Later, Microsoft chose the Monotype version, making Times New Roman font the default font in its Windows operating system starting from version 3.1. Meanwhile, Apple opted for the Linotype version. This widespread usage made Times New Roman a household name.

The success of Times New Roman font spurred other type designers to create similar typefaces, categorized under the Times style. Linotype created another similar typeface called Times, featuring sharper serifs and refined curves.

In 1972, Walter Tracy designed Times Europa for The Times, although this typeface didn’t replace Times New Roman font until the 1980s. In late 2006, Luke Prowse designed Times Modern for The Times, characterized by triangular-shaped serifs, and it was adopted by the newspaper.

Use Free Fonts Now

If you want to use free alternatives to Times New Roman font instantly, download FontApp now!

With FontApp, you can access Google Fonts with just one click, without downloading or installing them. In addition to over 6000 Google Fonts, FontApp includes hundreds of other free fonts that you can easily search, filter, and use in software like PS, AI, Sketch, and more.

If you found this article helpful, consider bookmarking the FontApp website for more on font trends and typography applications.

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Free Fonts, Google FontsFont ManagerCloud LibraryInstant Font Access for PS/AIMore Practical Features, All in FontApp!

The knowledge in this article is derived from: 

*The Story of Western Fonts

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