Which version/national cut of Times (New Roman)?

Dear type enthusiasts,

I'd like to ask for your help -- your combined expertise must be endless, no doubt. I've been struck by a version of Times (New Roman) I saw in a book, a while back. There's something ineffably good about it; very pleasing to the eye, and extremely easy to read without distraction.

My question is: does anyone know which version (or perhaps national variant) of TNR it is? An expert in a different thread said there were several country-specific of TNR, variously labeled TNR 627, 727, and 827. (E.g., the German one had slightly shorter capitals, to make them less obtrusive because of their prevalence in German writing.)  

A friend suggested that it seems to be a TNR with higher ascenders. What do you folks think?

I've attached a sample page, for your edification. It's from a 1980 book published at Springer or Kluwer. I can't tell if it was lead type or set digitally. 

Your help is much appreciated -- thank you!


  • This is an example of phototypesetting, and a rather good one at that. You can tell by the softness of the imaging, which was output onto photosensitive paper from a film matrix. I suspect it is the product of one of the Berthold machines, likely the ADS (Akzidenz Dialog System), which was introduced in the 1970s. Berthold’s photo fonts were exceptionally well rendered, not only in character design, but in their spacing, as well. Their systems were by no means the fastest, but they were the best quality and they were favored by most West German publishers. I agree with you: there is something ineffably good about this example.

    The reigning expert in phototypesetting systems is Frank Romano, president of the Museum of Printing, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and a professor emeritus at Rochester Institute of Technology. He’ll be happy to give you an opinion.

  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Wonderful. Fantastic response -- thank you! 

    I had a hunch it may be Berthold type. I do have their version of Times. Hastily digitized, and with just basic kerning, nothing else. (The sample I posted had ligatures, at least.) I can see why Berthold went under; they must have been so focused on dominating the photo typesetting market that they missed the boat on the digital tsunami coming their way. Too bad. 

    Again, thank you! Much appreciated. I'll follow up on your advice. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 622
    The book appears to be Italian Studies in the Philosophy of Science, from Springer.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,931
    That is nice. Most of the digital versions of Times were based on larger size masters, so end up being too light, too narrow, and with too small an x-height in text. If you like the look and feel of this phototype version, you might enjoy using the STIX Two Text fonts that we made for the STI Pub consortium.

  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Mr Savard, you're right; that's the book. Equally well set were older, pre-2000 issues of the journal Synthese

    Mr Hudson, thanks for your tip. I like your text font a lot. Looks like a love child of Berthold's Concorde and Times Classic Text, a 1970s' successor to TNR. Very nice. 
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 622
    (E.g., the German one had slightly shorter capitals, to make them less obtrusive because of their prevalence in German writing.) 

    If I remember correctly, the German version of Times New Roman had slightly lighter capitals, not slightly shorter ones.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Yes. True. I stand corrected. I don't know what I was thinking; what you say makes all the sense. 

    Again, what a pity that most of those versions didn't make it to digital. 
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 801
    edited May 24
    Berthold had two Times families in its phototype library by 1988. “Times New Roman” looks to be based on a 12pt or larger size, like the digital Times we know today. But Berthold’s Times New Roman 327 (a series name from Monotype) appears to be based on a smaller metal version. It’s darker, broader, and sturdier. The difference is even more obvious in the bolds of the two families. More here.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Yes. Thank you, Mr Coles. I'm a big fan of their 327 series. Hastily digitized, but still very good. The extra broadness can feel a bit too much, at times, and so I compensate it a little by raising the ascenders somewhat. 

    BTW, I hope one day you'll bring back your old lists, like the "Top rational serifs for text" one. I still remember it from back in the day, though I see it's gone from the internet now. 
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Seems that some members have seen the country-specific versions of TNR we mentioned above. Exciting!
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 622
    edited May 26
    I particularly liked Times 627, on one of the images following the one to which you pointed, Times New Roman Book; Times Wide, but with long descenders as well. Finally, a version of Times New Roman of which it can not be said:
    "As a new face it should, by the grace of God and the art of man, have been broad and open, generous and ample; instead, by the vice of Mammon and the misery of the machine, it is bigoted and narrow, mean and Puritan." - Stanley Morison, of his creation.
    I think the Wikipedia article on Times has short samples of the country-specific versions as well; I'm trying to remember where I saw them so I can provide a pointer. (One possibility is in a few issues of the Monotype Recorder which have been scanned and placed online at one site.)
    Since a mathematics textbook is a book, it's too bad that (or if? perhaps I should check - I have checked, and 569 definitely does not have long descenders) Times 569 wasn't derived from 627 instead of the standard 327 as its base. (I mean, of course, Monotype Times 327 here, not the Berthold 327 that you liked.)
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Who am I to know, really, but I still wish to disagree with Morison about his. TNR is just right; a marvel of engineering. If he was looking for broad, ample, and generous, he had one already -- it's Plantin. He could have just bracketed the serifs on it, tweaked the terminal on 'y' a little, and maybe redraw 'w' and 'v' in the Italic style. That's all it needed. I'm in awe at the greatness of Times. 

    TNR 827 seems to me a needless sop to long-dead French fashion. Its lowercase 'g' is a tribute to a century of didones, not really to Romain du Roi. Ugly and uncalled for. Same goes for 'R' and 'Q.' Why?
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 622
    edited May 26
    TNR 827 seems to me a needless sop to long-dead French fashion. Its lowercase 'g' is a tribute to a century of didones, not really to Romain du Roi. Ugly and uncalled for. Same goes for 'R' and 'Q.' Why?

    I don't know. I hadn't really taken a good look at that typeface, but I think I basically agree with your opinion of it.
    Actually, though, I can take a stab at answering the question "Why?", since the answer seems to be so obvious. For the most crassly commercial of reasons. So that, if in the rest of the world, Times dominates typography through immense overuse, but due to French taste, other typefaces hold sway... the new, adjusted Times, fitted to French tastes, can correct that regrettable situation... et voilà, Times dominates the printed page even as Coca-Cola dominates the soft drink market. (Think of the saga of Fanta and Gold Spot in India, which may have been the inspiration for the movie The Coca-Cola Kid. If France, a country smack dab in the middle of Europe, turned out to be a country in which it was not the case that 90% of everything printed was in Times... why, it might give other countries ideas!)
    As for your earlier point:
    I was an admirer of Times Roman before meeting the long descender or wide versions... but the version that struck me as beautiful was the Linotype cut; some English books obviously done in Monotype Times 327 aren't quite so attractive to me.
    But I will agree with you partially on that point - in some point sizes, Century Expanded is noticeably a tad too condensed, the same is not really true of Times; even if Times Wide is an improvement, it was not a badly needed one.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 622
    Page 22 of the Spring 1961 number of the Monotype Recorder (mr_42_2.pdf) includes a very short example of Times 727 light caps, the one for German, as adapted to Monophoto.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Thank you, Mr Savard -- what you say strikes me as true. Monotype was a corporation first, and a design outfit second, so it makes sense they'd do certain things with market dominance in mind. 

    In your second comment, you mentioned a document (mr_42_2.pdf); was there a link to it, or perhaps a URL address? Thanks in any case. 
  • Florian HardwigFlorian Hardwig Posts: 186
    edited May 26
    Hello Konrad, John refers to the Monotype Recorder. Over 60 issues of this journal have been scanned by John Cornelisse and made available on the Metal Type website.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Thank you, Mr Hardwig. What a treat!
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 622
    I've just learned something new about Times Roman. It turns out that in 1938, when they developed Times Wide, series 427, Monotype introduced the swash lower-case italic z; so this wasn't a variation introduced in Linotype's cut of the face after all.
  • konrad ritterkonrad ritter Posts: 78
    Very interesting. I had no idea -- but I'm glad to learn it. 

    I think I like the original z better, though. One of the many, many things I like about TNR is, its italics slant at just the right angle, and work to emphasize without stridency. They draw your attention to what's emphasized, but not to themselves. The initial, unswashed z did that very well; the 1938 one, not so much, IMHO. It kinds of stands out from its lowercase siblings. 

    Also, the lowercase italic f is a bit too curly and curvy; I think Sabon does it better. 
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