Stanley Morison  -  (1889 1967)
Typographer, Editor, Historian of Printing, Designer of the Times New Roman Typeface.

It is almost impossible to go through daily life without seeing testimony to the work
of Stanley Morison, however it is so familiar to us that it mostly goes unnoticed.
The Times New Roman font is around us everywhere, from newspapers to books,
advertising to company reports. It appears as the font of choice in virtually every
word processing program that we open up, yet what is known of its designer?

Stanley Morison was born in Wanstead on the 6th of May 1889.
Morison, by all accounts an underprivileged youth with no background in printing or typography, left school at 14 to work in an office.

In 1913-14 Morison worked for "The Imprint"

Between 1914 and 1918 he served time in prison for being a conscientious objector to the first world war.

After this imprisonment Morison underwent a conversion to Catholicism, this faith greatly influenced him in the area of printing. He became interested initially in the hymn book and other catholic writings and then all early printed books, often visiting printing museums in the area.

Morison was almost entirely self taught. Through much reading he made himself an expert both on typographic history and on the laying down of letters and words, the use of spacing and the measures used for book design.

In 1919 Morison took up a position with The Pelican Press and during his time here he produced his first typographical study.
The Craft of Printing: Notes on the History of Type Forms.

In 1921 Morison left The Pelican Press due to an offer from the newly founded Cloister Press in Manchester. He had sole charge of design here and much influence from his Catholic background can be seen in the design from many of his pages at this time. Morison's time at Cloister Press produced what is arguably some of his best work, but, due to the press' financial difficulties, Morison was out of a job in 1922.

In 1923 Morison was appointed Typographical Adviser to the Lanston Monotype Corporation Ltd. in London. This association saw the issue of a remarkable succession of typefaces. During his time at the Lanston Monotype Corporation Morison was co editor of The Fleuron magazine and wrote his famous essay entitled 'First Principles of Typography' which appeared in part in the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1929, The Fleuron in 1930 and was published in it's entirety in 1936. This period also saw Morison designing book covers for the Victor Gollancz publishing house, and the start of a long association with the Cambridge University Press.

In 1931 , The Times of London commissioned the Monotype Corporation under the direction of Stanley Morison to design a newspaper typeface. Morison is quoted as saying " The Times as a newspaper in a class by itself, needed not a general trade type, however good, but a face whose strength of line, firmness of contour, and economy of space fulfilled the specific editorial needs of The Times". The Result was Times New Roman, designed by morison and drawn by Victor Lardent.
On October the 3rd 1932 The Times, set out in Morison's new typeface, rolled off the presses.

Morison remained as typography consultant to the Monotype corporation until his death on the 11th of October 1967. During this time he was also editor-in-chief of the Times Literary Supplement (1945-1947) and in 1960 was made Royal Designer for Industry.

Publications by Stanley Morison include:

"Four Centuries of Fine Print", London 1924. "The Alphabet of Damianus Moyllus", London 1927. "The Calligraphy of Ludovico degli Arrigahi", Paris 1929. "The English Newspaper, 1622-1932", Cambridge 1932. "First Principles of Typography", Cambridge 1936, "A Tally of Types" Cambridge 1953. "Typographic Design in Relation to Photographic Composition", San Francisco 1959.


Researched and written by Chris Dart