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New Roman Times – Camper Van Beethoven

Contributed by Thiago on Feb 14th, 2019. Artwork published in
October 2014
.
    New Roman Times – Camper Van Beethoven
    License: All Rights Reserved.

    New Roman Times is an album by Camper van Beethoven, released in 2004 on Pitch-A-Tent Records. The title is a play on the ubiquitous typeface Times New Roman, which is consequentially also used for the typography – unfortunately with faux small caps.

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    5 Comments on “New Roman Times – Camper Van Beethoven”

    1. Feb 14th, 2019  12:21 pm

      Knowing about this album and its self-referential type choice would have earned you big points in the 2011 quiz at Berlin’s Typostammtisch!

      In 2018, Evan Brown has published a novel that is based on Camper van Beethoven’s concept album. As a matter of course, the book cover by Åsk Wäppling uses TNR, too.

    2. Thiago says:
      Mar 2nd, 2019  1:11 pm

      As a side note, the new versions of TNR, shipping with new operating systems such as Windows 10, have true small caps, along with swashes and other OpenType features. All it takes is software that can access them, like MS Word can’t.

      TNR smcp

      This happened under everyone’s radar. I’m still waiting to see the TNR swashes in the wild…

    3. Mar 2nd, 2019  2:05 pm

      Thanks, Thiago! Small caps have been available in various digital versions of Times and Times New Roman before, at least for the roman styles. The version included in recent versions of Windows offers small caps for the italics, too.

      The swash forms are indeed new to me. The Italic and Bold Italic styles come with a full set of swash capitals. For those who want to use them but don’t have a current version of Windows, this version is available as Times New Roman OS for general licensing. Judging from MyFonts’ preview, someone must have forgotten to include the (unaccented) swash N.

    4. Blythwood says:
      Mar 31st, 2019  2:42 am

      I had wondered when someone was going to discuss these! I have to say I find them a bit of a missed opportunity–considering Times’ close affinity with Baskerville it seems like the right basis would be eighteenth-century, something like what Paul Barnes did with Austin. (Not including a Baskerville-style 'N’ seems like a particularly massive own goal.) Or maybe a bit of Gill influence from the minimal, streamline moderne-ish swash capitals that came with Perpetua and were considered for Gill Sans, or Dwiggins’ italic for El Dorado. Instead a lot of them just seem to be done on the grim '70s phototype 'just put a swash on at top left’ basis. (Although, let’s be honest, some of Granjon’s swash capitals aren’t above this either.) I think the last five letters come off best.

    5. Mar 31st, 2019  7:55 pm

      Good points. The decision to play it safe might have been motivated by the fact that TNR is a system font and needs to work for all kinds of users. Swash forms that deviate too much from the standard letterforms – like a cursive E or a spiraling Q – weren’t used, probably to avoid confusion. There aren’t any loops, not even in W. Likewise, it might have deemed as confusing to offer a swash feature that only has an effect for a small number of characters (Austin Italic has swash cap alternates for 9 letters only). Monotype apparently wanted alternates for all 26 caps. In combination, this leads to the schematic, partly repetitive solution that you described. But also some glyphs without top left swash strike me as stiff, e.g. Q or Z. They look like modified regular italic letters, not like genuinely drawn swash caps. Structurally, the swash caps in Times New Roman OS stay close to Carol Twombly’s Adobe Caslon. The image below shows Freda Sack’s Caslon 540 Italic Swashes (top) and Adobe Caslon (bottom).

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