The Font of the Times

Today in my British Literature class, I was given a rubric for an essay. Amongst her other requirements for the paper my professor unambiguously specified for Times New Roman font to be used. She talked about it being “the standard” and all that. Which got me thinking… I have been asked to use Times New Roman font for most every paper I have written since I started submitting papers! For over 9 years: Times New Roman.

Times New Roman.

Times New Roman.

Times New Roman.

I’m surprised that this blog doesn’t post in

Times New Roman.

My rebel self loathed Times New Roman in high school. I would write my papers in a font of my choice and then change it last minute before the paper was printed. I guess I thought that my teachers would somehow know how much I despised the font through the act. But these days I almost prefer Times New Roman. It sort of is “the standard”. Its classy, I guess, and a nice type to look at.

And then I think of my own teaching philosophies…am I going to be the kind of teacher that requires my students to submit writing in a specific font? In my past opinion, Times New Roman stifled my creativity. But my teachers argued that the unity of having all papers in the same size and font was preferred.

Does it really stifle creativity? Or does it just take personal preference away from the student?

Does it try to categorize a student’s writing? Does it take away from their voice?

Should it be the choice of the writer or the reader?

Does it matter at all?

I am interested to hear other thoughts on the matter!


About Emma Steward

Coloradoan, yogi, future educator, vegetarian, nature lover, fine wine connoisseur of fine wines (Five truths and lie, or is it two...)

One thought on “The Font of the Times

  1. Wow, Emma, you’re just a blogging fiend! I think that’s very interesting that there’s a “font” requirement for your Brit Lit class, but maybe that’s in order to insure, along with font and margin size requirements, that students aren’t trying to skimp on page count.

    Personally, I don’t find Times New Roman stifling. When I got my laptop, I changed the default font in Word from Arial or whatever it was to Times New Roman because I despise Arial. But that may just be me.

    I took a Computer Graphics class back in high school and we had a unit on typography. My teacher said that fonts like Times New Roman (called serif fonts) are easier to read when you have large blocks of text. Fonts like Arial or whatever WordPress uses (non-serif fonts) are better for headlines or posters because they’re easier to read at distance. So one of the reasons I think teachers ask for Times New Roman is because it’s actually easier to read.

    The other reason I think is because it looks more “professional” than non-serif font. You’re right, it is the standard for many professional publications like the New York Times, so when you type formal papers in Times New Roman it just looks that much better. I think the internet in general employs non-serif fonts like this because it looks more laidback, and the internet is a pretty casual environment. You’ll never see serif fonts on places like Facebook or Twitter or WordPress because that would probably freak people out.

    I’ve never given that much thought to fonts before, so I think it’s awesome that you have! And I really liked your story of how you would rebel : )

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