Friday, 3 December 2010
Body copy comparison - Times v Nimrod
Had a call from the Halifax Courier's Tim Robinson this week asking about body copy. Tim is a self-confessed Times New Roman junkie but was asking about accessible alternatives. "Please don't say Nimrod - to me it looks as up-to-date as the ad for Worthington E," he added. Times New Roman is OK if used properly. It has served newspapers well, commissioned specifically for The Times newspaper in 1931 (although even The Times doesn't use it any more). Times and Times New Roman have a smaller x-height than many other serifs and have thin strokes and hairlines, so has a tendency to break up if used too small on newsprint. I regularly see research which says readers find a newspaper difficult to read - and more often than not it is Times or Times New Roman used at 8.5pt or under and across too narrow a measure. As it has a small x-height you don't really need to lead it, just use it bigger. Nimrod is certainly ubiquitous and hardly at the cutting edge of design but it is functional and readable. Clarion is very similar to Nimrod. News Miller and News 701 are very readable. If economy is more important, ITC Cheltenham works well. Newspapers tend not to be awash with great off-the-shelf serifs ... some of the most stylish fonts, such as Poynter and Gulliver, can be costly. And not many newspapers are in the business of buying in new fonts these days. I put the above chart together for Tim which compares common text faces and specifically looks at Nimrod v Times New Roman. It's a jpg but if you would like a better quality PDF drop me an email on email@example.com and I will send you one.