Digital Times (New) Roman

Wei HuangWei Huang Posts: 93
edited November 2015 in History of Typography
(I'm sure there is something about this in the Typophile archives… but of course we have no access to that anymore. Long post warning, probably suited better to a blog.)

What's going on with all the Times (New) Roman's? I found today there's a 'Times New Roman PS' which according to Google Translated German Wikipedia:
Times New Roman is Microsoft's name for the Trueype version of Times New Roman PS, a narrower version of monotypes classic type. The PS version was introduced at the request of Microsoft Monotype in order with the dimensions of the Times Roman (one of the PostScript coincide -Kernschriften Linotype). She has finer capitals that were originally designed for printing German texts (because here, in contrast to the English seem very much more capital letters).
I dug around a bit more and found Times (New) Roman and its part in the Development of Scalable Font Technology by Charles Bigelow, 1994:

The outcome of all of the legal maneuverings is that Linotype and its licensees like Adobe and Apple continue to use the name "Times Roman", while Monotype and its licensees like Microsoft use the name "Times New Roman".

During the decades of transatlantic "sharing" of the Times designs, and the transfer of the faces from metal to photo to digital, various differences developed between the versions marketed by Linotype and Monotype. Especially these became evident when Adobe released the PostScript version, for various reasons having to do with how Adobe produced the original PostScript implementations of Times. The width metrics were different, as well as various proportions and details.

In the late 1980's, Monotype redrew its Times New Roman to make it fit exactly the proportions and metrics of the Adobe-Linotype version of Times Roman. Monotype claimed that its new version was better than the Adobe-Linotype version, because of smoother curves, better detailing, and generally greater sensitivity to the original designs done for The Times and Monotype by Victor Lardent, who worked under the direction of Stanley Morison. During the same period, Adobe upgraded its version of Times, using digital masters from Linotype, which of course claimed that it had a superior version, so there was a kind of competition to see who had the most refined, sensitive, original, genuine, bona-fide, artistically and typographically correct version. Many, perhaps most, users didn't notice and didn't care about these subtle distinctions, many of which were invisible at 10 pt at 300 dpi (which is an em of 42 pixels, a stem of three pixels, a serif of 1 pixel, and so on).

When Microsoft produced its version of Times New Roman, licensed from Monotype, in TrueType format, and when Apple produced its version of Times Roman, licensed from Linotype, in TrueType format, the subtle competition took on a new aspect, because both Microsoft and Apple expended a great deal of time and effort to make the TrueType versions as good as, or better than, the PostScript version. During the same period, Adobe released ATM along with upgraded versions of its core set of fonts, for improved rasterization on screen. Also, firms like Imagen, now part of QMS, and Sun developed rival font scaling technologies, and labored to make sure that their renderings of Times, licensed from Linotype in both cases, were equal to those of their competitors. Hence, the perceived quality of the Times design became a litmus for the quality of several font formats. Never before, and probably never again, would the precise placement of pixels in the serifs or 's' curves etc. of Times Roman occupy the attention of so many engineers and computer scientists. It was perhaps the supreme era of the Digital Fontologist.

As for the actual visual differences in the designs, well, like any good academic author, I leave the detection and analysis of those "as an exercise for the reader".

Something from the English Wikipedia page for Times New Roman:
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. 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. 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.)
Summary
Apple: Times Roman, Linotype
Microsoft: Times New Roman, Monotype
Later Monotype redrew its Times New Roman to fit proportions & metrics of Adobe-Linotype's Times Roman. Then Adobe upgraded it's version of Linotype Times.

A couple questions though
  1. Are any of these original Linotype Times Roman and Monotype Times New Roman from pre-late-1980's around?
  2. a. What is 'Times New Roman Pro PS' I understand from the above German Wikipedia page for Times that it could be the late-1980's redraw of Monotype Times New Roman to match the Adobe-Linotype Times Roman's metrics, and I'm guessing PS refers to PostScript; but the drawings and spacing are slightly different.
    b. and what is 'Times New Roman Pro'—it's metrics are different, i.e. wider, even wider /a — perhaps a TNR that is closer to the original metal version?

  3. What specifically is meant by "for various reasons having to do with how Adobe produced the original PostScript implementations of Times. The width metrics were different, as well as various proportions and details."?

Comments

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,035
    edited November 2015
    I scaled the sample so the height of the K matches, just to see if it wasn't just different vertical metrics settings causing width variation. Nope, but MT and Pro are close.


  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,931
    edited November 2015
    Wei Huang said:

    A couple questions though
    1. Are any of these original Linotype Times Roman and Monotype Times New Roman from pre-late-1980's around?
    2. a. What is 'Times New Roman Pro PS' I understand from the above German Wikipedia page for Times that it could be the late-1980's redraw of Monotype Times New Roman to match the Adobe-Linotype Times Roman's metrics, and I'm guessing PS refers to PostScript; but the drawings and spacing are slightly different.
      b. and what is 'Times New Roman Pro'—it's metrics are different, i.e. wider, even wider /a — perhaps a TNR that is closer to the original metal version?

    3. What specifically is meant by "for various reasons having to do with how Adobe produced the original PostScript implementations of Times. The width metrics were different, as well as various proportions and details."?
    1. Define “around”?

    2a. The “PS” moniker is short for PostScript. Historically, it has been an abbreviation used by Adobe and Monotype for versions of fonts that used Monotype’s outlines but adapted to the Adobe/Linotype metrics.

    2b. No idea.

    3. The context of the first half of the paragraph is important. The Linotype/Adobe version had already diverged from the Monotype version.  This became especially apparent and problematic as the market went from proprietary systems of phototypesetting and early digital, to the inter-operable printers, apps and font systems during the mid-80s through the early 90s. Microsoft wanted their core fonts licensed from Monotype to be compatible with Adobe’s, so that meant making the new MS/MT system version of Times New Roman (1991) match the Adobe/Linotype/Apple versions more closely.

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