My War Against Times New Roman

Imagine this: every day, you duck into your office cubicle. You sit in your chair and feel, as you do every day, kind of squished. The arms of the chair dig into you; the seat’s stiff and unyielding; the lumbar support feels like a fist grinding into your delicate coccyx ALL DAY, for hours and hours.

It’s just not a great chair.

And the funny thing is that in those cubicles all around you sit many other chairs—similar to the one you have but a little more generous in proportion, a little more comfortable for long hours of work. In fact, most of them even look better, and your cubicle can always stand a little sprucing, right?

By the way, all of those chairs are available for your use. No one else needs them. So, why is it that day after day after day, you come into that office and sit in that same, uncomfortable, chair? Because it’s there? Because it’s the chair that someone pulled up to your desk before you arrived?

Truly, you’re sitting in a room filled with more comfortable, more attractive chairs, and you’re just going to sit in that same awful chair every single day? Come on!

And that, my friends, is what you’re doing every time you create a document using Times New Roman. You are selecting the squished, uncomfortable chair of fonts. The stingy, mean-spirited, jerk of typefaces. The ruthless—

Okay. Breathe, Lorin. Breeaaaaathe.

I may be getting carried away. It’s just that it’s an awful font, and if we’re not vigilant, if we don’t pick up arms NOW and fight for greater aesthetics and readability, then we’ll be stuck using this miscreant font for the rest of our days.

So, what’s wrong with it? Well, first and foremost, it’s an overly proportional font, which means it gives only as much space to each letter as each letter requires, rather than giving some of the slimmer fonts a little room to breathe. I mean, why punish poor “l” because it doesn’t need the same space as its more voluptuous compatriots?

Secondly, it’s just a little bit smaller (height wise) at standard twelve points than other twelve point fonts. Which makes it harder on the eyes. Which creates at least a subliminal crankiness (or a fully LIMINAL one, in my case) on the part of agents, editors, and readers.

A standard manuscript page should have somewhere in the neighborhood of about 250 words. A standard page typed in Times New Roman has about 6,853 words.


Image from Wikipedia

No really. Check it yourself.

And then join me, brothers and sisters of the word, in fighting the good fight. Select another twelve-point serif font to become YOUR standard. How about a nice Bookman? Or Georgia? New Century? Palatino?? Any of these are better, easier on the eyes, more readable. And just a click away!

So, kick off the shackles of font servitude and make a new selection! Go get yourself a new chair and toss that old, uncomfortable seat right into the office incinerator.  We’ll both be glad you did. 

-- Lorin