[scribus] Need Arial, Times New Roman Font "equivalents" to look/print nice in PDF

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Tue Feb 22 03:52:51 CET 2011

On Mon, 21 Feb 2011 19:49:32 -0500
John Brown <johnbrown105 at hotmail.com> dijo:

>> > > On Monday 21 February 2011 12:52:35 Rob Oakes wrote:
>> > > > I personally don't care for either Arial or Times New Roman. I
>> > > > think they are significantly overused.

I agree also.

>> > > Second, because Times is the default for
>> > > MSWord it is easily recognizable as the product of an amateur
>> > > typographer. So I suggest something outside the Microsoft Windows
>> > > collection, such as Bitstream Charter, Minion, Adobe Garamond or
>> > > Sabon.

>> > That is a reason not to use a font? Because the commoners use it?
>> >
>> > I would think that the work of an amateur typographer will look
>> > amateurish whichever font he uses. Similarly, I would expect the
>> > work of the professional to look professional regardless.

The use of the default fonts that come with Microsoft Office bespeaks a
person who may be able to write, but has no sense of style, design or
art, and is utterly devoid of any knowledge of the computer they are
using. My reaction is an immediate prejudice against whatever the
person wrote because, since they know nothing of the program they are
using, chances are they also probably have nothing to say that I want
to bother reading. 

>> Well its a tough world out there. When you submit to a prepub
>> reviewer you don't want to give them an extra reason for denying a
>> review.
>> In Bringhurst I find the passage:
>> "When the only font available is Cheltenham or Times Roman the
>> typographer must make the most of its virtues...but there is nothing
>> to be gained by pretending that Times Roman is Bembo..."
>> And Felici says simply:
>> "Times is probably used inappropriately more than any other typeface
>> today."
>> Felici also shows a passage set in TR followed by the same passage
>> set in Sabon showing the advantage of the wider face. It looks much
>> less crowded.
>> One more time. There are lots of better choices. It is not a matter
>> of being commoners, it is a matter of looking like amateurs. The
>> authorities, at least the ones on my shelf, seem to agree.

>Well, since they don't come more common than I, who can't tell the
>difference between Arial and Helvetica, I will take your word for it.
>A few questions:
>1) Why did the word-processing world settle upon these pitiful,
>hopeless fonts Arial and Times New Roman? I suppose the others did it
>because Microsoft did, but why did Microsoft choose these fonts?

A little history would help here.

When laser printers became available at prices that ordinary people
could afford they included built in fonts, all in Adobe Type 1 format,
licensed from Adobe. Operating systems back in those days did not have
the ability to hold fonts that could be used by all programs. And only
the top end word processors of the day could use "soft fonts" (as they
were called then), e.g., WordPerfect. To use a font that did not come
as part of the printer's firmware you have to go through a lot of
contortions in the program you were using. 

The fonts that were installed in those early printers came be known as
the "gang of 35." They included four fonts each of Times (not Times New
Roman), Helvetica, Bookman, Courier, Avant Garde, and a couple more that
I can't remember, plus Zapf Dingbats and a couple other decorative
fonts. For many years these were the standard fonts in the word
processing world. 

Of the list of fonts, the only one that looked good for body text was
Times. Bookman is ugly, Courier was designed to look like a typewriter,
Helvetica was a sans serif, and Avant Garde was too decorative, as well
as being a sans serif font. The result is that Times came to be used
and overused in office settings.

When Microsoft Windows hit the office world one of its outstanding
features was that you could install fonts in the operating system,
which would then be available to all programs. Laser printers no
longer needed the "gang of 35," although even today laser printers still
come with installed fonts. To make Windows more usable with cheaper
printers Microsoft included fonts with the default installation of
Windows. Two of these were Times New Roman and Arial, both designed and
selected because they looked a lot like the Adobe Times and Helvetica
that were part of the "gang of 35." And the result was that the office
world continued to overuse Times and Helvetica or their fellow travelers
Times New Roman and Arial. 

>2) Suppose Microsoft decided that for Office 2015, the default font
>will be one of those that you like. Would it still find favour with
>Felici, Bringhurst and Company, or would its excellent technical and
>artistic qualities suddenly become not so good?

If the original "gang of 35" included Bembo instead of Times I would
probably hate Bembo today as much as I do Times. It's the hackneyed
overuse that makes me gag when I see Times, Arial or Helvetica. 

I recall as an undergraduate taking an art course where one of the
textbooks was "The Tradition of the New." The premise of the book was
that in art, as in all other human endeavors, everything goes through
three stages:

	Avant garde, only a few leading people are doing it
	Flourishing, everyone is doing it
	Decadent, "are you still doing that?"

At one time I used Warnock Pro for books. I thought it was an elegant
font for body text. I don't hate it today, but I'm tired of it. The
font hasn't changed; it's my perception of it that has moved on. I
don't eat the same foods today that I did ten years ago either. Like
everyone else, my tastes change over time. Luckily, when it comes to
fonts, there are enough choices to keep me fresh and inspired for far
longer than I will live.

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