Alternative to Times New Roman

danburzo's picture


I really fancy the Times New Roman aesthetic with its references to the 'amateur culture' and the vernacular. I'm starting a small creative shop and I would like to base my identity around this font, but I'd rather go with something along the lines of TNR, but maybe not so tired.

Could you point me to some alternatives?

twardoch's picture

Try Adobe's or Scangraphic's Life, or if you want to depart more from Times, go with Quadriga or Karmina, or use my alltime favorite Aldine 721 (Bitstream's version of Plantin). All to see at MyFonts.

Yehan's picture could try Lido
Not sure about using it for "display" though.

Uli's picture

Erik Spiekermann said elsewhere that Concorde is the best Times. I agree with that. Especially Italic and Bold are better. Times Italic is too thin and Times Bold is has too small counters.

Bitstream's "Concorde" is Dutch 809.

Uli's picture

Mr. Coles:

> Alternatives to Times

This list of alternatives is a promotional blurb for the "Purchase at Fontshop".

This list does not mention the Times alternatives which Fontshop does not sell (e.g. from Berthold etc.) nor the Times alternative which are available for free (e.g. from Storm, URW etc.)

You should add to your list the warning: "Biassed, promotional information"

fredo's picture

Got kicked out of charm school again, Uli?
I think it is, through context, not necessary to add that warning. Nowhere does it say these are the only alternatives, nor do we stand in the dark on who is behind these recommendations as Fontshop is a well known type vendor.
Now be cutie and make a proper linkable list of alternatives to the alternative list you mention and Dan's day is made, hopefully.


Uli's picture

> Got kicked out of charm school again, Uli?

Everyone at Fontshop knows that Erik Spiekermann launched Fontshop:

see here e.g.

And everyone at Fontshop knows that Erik Spiekermann wrote this about Times and Concorde:

"A TYPE DESIGNER’S CHOICES: Ever wonder if type designers play favorites? I posed the question to Erik Spiekermann. His selections and comments follow: ... 3. CONCORDE “The first typeface whose design process I followed. This was Berthold’s answer to Times New Roman, and I think it is a much better design.” ..." (Full article here

So, it is ridiculous that Fontshop does not mention Concorde it its own "Times alternatives" list and does not disclose that the man who started Fontshop thinks that Concorde is a better choice than Times.

Stephen Coles's picture

Oh, Uli, you cuddlebug. You endlessly amuse me.

Nick Shinn's picture

...the Times New Roman aesthetic with its references to the ’amateur culture’ and the vernacular.

That's not my understanding of the "Times aesthetic".
But given that Times is a staple of default systems design, and that your reading of its connotations is valid, how has it acquired overtones of amateurism and the vernacular, while Helvetica, has not?
Perhaps it is because Arial is the "bad twin" which assumes that role.
So is what's happening here a movement to make Times the bad twin of Concorde?
That doesn't make sense, as Times is the original, definitive version, and IMO a livelier face than Concorde.

Uli's picture

> Times is the original, definitive version

The problem is that what is used today as Times New Roman (TIMES.TTF) is not the same as what was used originally. The original Times was a hotmetal composition font which was available in different versions for different point sizes. On the other hand, Concorde was designed as a photocomposition font with only one (Diatype etc.) version for all point sizes. Therefore, Lange opened the counters of Concorde Bold, so that the font could also be used in small point sizes. See e.g.

(The black contour is Times New Roman, the red contour is Concorde. The glyphs were scaled to the same x-height.)

Times New Roman Bold (TIMESBD.TTF) is badly suited for very small point sizes, and therefore many dictionary publishing houses in Germany, which formerly used Times Bold for headwords, switched to sanserif fonts for headwords, with Times Regular (= non-bold Times) still used, but only for the text following the headwords.

_Palatine_'s picture

I'd just use TNR and avoid the problem altogether. Would a job that would otherwise call for TNR not benefit from simply using TNR?

Part of the appeal of Times New Roman is its economy of space. I get the impression some of the "alternatives" ignore that.

Dan Gayle's picture

Times becomes a totally new face when set in all caps. It seems, actually I'm sure it was, designed with setting small bits of text in all caps.

But I don't understand the reasoning behind wanting the common and vernacular, but not wanting the tired. When it comes to type, they are one and the same thing. I can't think of any common and vernacular fonts that aren't "tired". Perhaps some of ITC's 70s and 80s stuff? (But I think a lot of them should be re-tired...)

merkri's picture

Part of the appeal of Times New Roman is its economy of space. I get the impression some of the “alternatives” ignore that.

This can't be emphasized enough. It's also something that can be difficult to discern with a lot of type samples.

To me, a more important question is: what is a good alternative to TNR that is equally efficient in its use of space?

_Palatine_'s picture

"To me, a more important question is: what is a good alternative to TNR that is equally efficient in its use of space?"

And as readable.

paul d hunt's picture

@Christian Gulliver, for one.

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

Let’s hope Concorde has much better kerning...?

flooce's picture

A very valid alternative to Times New Roman might be the freshly released PT Serif. It is as well, like Times, a slightly condensed serif font with relatively large x-height. It does not suffer from the strong contrasts of TNR in body text use, which makes it more easier on the eye in my opinion. Since it is for free and is similar in look and feel on a page, it should be an accessible alternative. Plus it has a cyrillic alphabet included too.

quadibloc's picture

Ah, this is the thread. I came across Rawlinson from Terminal Design. The capital J descends below the line, like Baskerville or Caslon, but the face seems to resemble Times in other aspects.

AdamC's picture

You could try Plantin or Musee if they ar appropriate for what you are doing.

quadibloc's picture

The link was and it is interesting.

When it comes to Jenson, Ludlow's Eusebius seems to me to be the most faithful revival, and not even Nicolas Jenson SG (which has been said to be just a digitization thereof) comes close. Not that Cloister Lightface and Centaur and the rest aren't also very nice typefaces.

Dolly reminds me of something too, but it's much older than 2006. Apparently it isn't Weiss Roman, so I'm going to need to look around a bit.

quadibloc's picture

Ah. I think it's Palatino that I was reminded of by Dolly.

ChristerMLB's picture

I can see Font Shop lists Minion as an option. It's both economic and readable.

It also comes with Indesign, which is nice when you're just starting out :)

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