Times New Roman: End of an era

December 4, 2006

In the ecosystem of typography, Times New Roman has enjoyed being on top of the font chain for some time. Because of its ubiquitous nature, Times New Roman has been influential in the subsequent development of a number of serif typefaces both before and after the start of the digital-font era.

Originally designed for The Times newspaper by Stanley Morrison, it has survived several stages of evolution. When hot metal was replaced by photo-mechanical typesetting and when that was replaced by desktop publishing, Times New Roman was always there. It has shipped free with every copy of Microsoft Windows since version 3.1 and is the default font in many applications, meaning that it’s the default typeface for amongst others – lost pet signs, the first web pages, Newsletters and Government documents.

But there is a meteorite heading for Times New Roman. Microsoft has announced that a sans serif typeface – Calibri will replace Times New Roman as the default in Microsoft Office 2007.

Finally, Microsoft realized that Times New Roman is not that good to read on screen. It was the default font on Word and other platforms so far. Although Calibri will be the default font starting from Office 2007, I don’t think Microsoft is dropping Times. Just that it will be merely using Calibri as the default font in Office.

Calibri is a more legible screen font. In addition, the font prints out very nicely as well. It’s a nice, clean font with soft rounded corners. It has a warm, friendly personality that isn’t found in fonts like Arial and Helvetica. It is also the one typeface in the collection that is appropriate for use both in text sizes and larger headline sizes.

In Microsoft’s promotional booklet, ‘Now Read This’, Calibri’s designer Lucas de Groot says, “Its proportions allow high impact in tightly set lines of big and small type alike.”

He adds, “This font is suitable for documents, e-mail, Web design, and magazines.” Calibri set in regular, bold, or italic is a pleasure to read. The rounded corners create a smooth reading experience. As de Groot says, “The family has a generous width that makes reading easier by emphasizing the reading direction.”

I expect Times New Roman will always be with us, but we’ll probably be seeing a lot less of it and a lot more of Calibri. And who knows, maybe years down the road we might be able to tell who uses what OS just by looking at their printed text!


19 Responses to “Times New Roman: End of an era”

  1. shark Says:

    personally I never liked Times New Roman…

    Some of my fav fonts.. Verdana, Tahoma and Comic Sans MS 🙂

  2. Vani Says:

    Time to say Bye-Bye to Times New Roman, then. It was a “space eater”, as in other fonts used to be small and concise, and the matter that would fit on one page would be substantial, but with Times New Roman it would, by default, move to the second page.

    Like Shark, I too like Verdana and Comic Sans MS. Also liked Lucida Console…. all the reports that I generate are with Lucida.

    Hope to see a new improved font soon.

    Thanks for the informative piece, Bellur.

  3. Srik Says:

    It seemed an un-important thing to me until I started working with the middle management closely. Then I realised how important the fonts we use are, for presenting our views better, we need to be more readable at the first place!!

    I like Verdana and Lucida Console too 🙂

    Thanks for the post Bellur.

  4. some body Says:

    i love times new roman, it is my de facto font for official communication (well, as times change, i guess times has to change too :-).

    in my opinion, serifs make the font appear more formal. having said that, i would go with bookman for official documents and comic sans for informal – of course, courier for code snippets :-). i do like verdana and tahoma also, but hate arial.

    i have never done font size comparisons or even paid much attention to how much space one font takes vs. another. but unconsciously, i have always felt that courier, comic sans and bookman all take up more space than times for the same font size. maybe i am wrong!

    calibri sounds like an italian food item like ravioli!

    – s.b.

  5. Vijay Says:

    Interesting take… I am wondering if this will kick off “Font Wars”…

  6. usha Says:

    Times new is going to be old times , time to move on..

    thanks for the info…

  7. Time aadaga Times New Roman.. VeraaNda dalli iddaaga Verdaana, Aries raashi iddavaru Arial., Britannia biscuit tinta tinta Britanica bold, Sachin Century hodedaaga Century Gothic… tumba Impact barsbeku andaaga IMPACT…heege list will grow like hanumantana baala.

    All said & done, yaako nanna laptop nalli all these wordpress blogs are appearing very weird. Does anybody knows how to change the font settings for the whole of the computer ? I would want to change my default font to de-fact-to-standard!

  8. Kishor Says:

    Italics looks great only in Times New Roman. “Trebuchet” and “Arial” are my favourites anyday.

  9. rk Says:

    verdana and tahoma are like identical cousins(daayadhis). they both are from the same font family. comic sans has that informal and child friendly look to it.

    right, good for reports. has a wide range of uses including directories, tables, forms, memos, telefaxes, manuals, heads, titles, posters, and displays. readable at all sizes.

    there is a dress and font for each occasion. glad you liked the post.


    (well, as times change, i guess times has to change too :-).

    good one liner. 🙂
    ‘calibri’ also souunds like the sister of the bike ‘calibre’.

    font wars! lol! i would love to see that.

    loved that first para. really funny. don’t know the problem you are having with the laptop. hope it is solved soon.

    trebuchet is like those strict professors we saw in college. neat and strict look. of course, arial is a safe font.

  10. namma nadu Says:

    I have always like Baskerville ; I have always wondered why Microsoft preferred Times New Roman — never understood it at all. Wonder what is the default on Apple?

  11. decemberstud Says:

    Yep, Verdana is nice…and opf course “Courier New” to type out all my code so that a manager can look at it and think that I am really doing some productive work.

    There are some prof’s who actually discourage using certain fonts in schools. I know there are quite a few Arial haters.

    Nice take RK.

  12. Hey, thats pretty informative. Great post! Me’s enjoyed reading it as much as Me enjoyed reading your other posts.


  13. DS.. Courier New nalli code maadodrinda how can somebody think its productive ? couldn’t relate this pls pls explain a bit.
    School nalli discourage using fonts ? America dalli yaake college anno padabaLake illa ? (guess you referred that only).. if not, then namma deshadalli school nalli mostly fonts trainings illa ankoteeni 🙂

    Amele Arial haters ? ayyo shivane.. yaake chennagideyella.. by the way, can somebody anwer me my query.. how to change the default font on any computer ? pls………

  14. Kishor Says:

    LOL…at “strict professor” remark….I always thought Trebuchet resembles Shilpa Shetty;)

  15. rk Says:

    namma nadu,
    neat font. named after John Baskerville (1706 – 1775), a printer from Birmingham.
    LucidaGrande is the “default” font in Mac.

    yes, seen that most programmers write codes using “Courier New”in notepad.
    🙂 thanks.

    radha krishna,
    thanks for your kind words. happy to know that you like the posts here. take care.

    arial is actually evolved from helvetica. it’s really funny when senior designers tell, “helvetica looks so much like arial” whereas it’s the other way round! but then, there are also differences between the two.
    hope your query is answered soon.

    rofl-ing!! to ape an old ’80s ad: Trebuchet and Shilpa Shetty? hmm! Kabhi nahin! 😉

  16. decemberstud Says:


    My dev env is really Linux. It’s just that if you need to sopy and paste a ‘wee’ bit of code and send it to your manager using a windows mail application, you use Courier New. adu code kaLisakke hELi mADisiddu. That’s all.

    Yep, by school, I meant college…sorry, too many years here.

  17. […] Futura, Times New Roman and Gothic are his favourite fonts. He tells that he has created numerous typefaces for as many […]

  18. […] Related link: Times New Roman: End of an era […]

  19. […] funny. It brings back memories but that doesn’t mean you should use it! It’s like using Times New Roman on a poster-scaled […]

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