Question: Font standards - What's the deal with Times New Roman?

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Dorm Ant

Jul 7, 2021
I'm currently a full time mature student. The old days of handwritten assignments dropped in a box are gone - everything is submitted digitally. This is partly so it can be plagiarism checked against the entire internet, and partly because it's loads more convenient.

Every lecturer has specified that serif fonts are an absolute NO. Work must be written in Ariel, Helvetica, Gill Sans or any other similar sans serif font. Hell... I can even use Comic Sans if I really want to. I asked why, and was told that sans fonts are easier on the eye, easier to read on a screen, loads more learning difficulty and dyslexia friendly etc, etc.

I pointed out that agents and publishers usually specify that they want manuscripts in TNR, Garamond or similar, and was met with confusion. Why on Earth would they prefer such an old fashioned font?

So, I'm passing the question on... Times New Roman. Just why?
Ah, another trend forcing err, making its way into being ...
Although, this one's been hopping up on a regular basis. Do these things ever need a real reason?
But we do as they ask, or they mark us down, ignore our work, or dismiss us as fogies. We have to figure out whether it's worth putting time and effort into pushing back. Me? I give 'em what they want. Mostly.
I tried the trick of using a different font for revising. I think it did help me to distance myself. Wouldn't it be similar if you were reading submission after submission? Ah maybe that's it. You might think something is better than it is just because the font is easier to read?
I am editing a training manual for librarians who want to learn about assistive technology. As it turns out, sans fonts are better for people with dyslexia. In some cases, reading everything in Arial or something similar effectively removes the dyslexia. The problem with serifs seems to be at they can make characters look alike to someone with dyslexia. For instance, a 9 may look like a 0. On the other hand, for most people serif fonts are easier to read. If someone specifies a preference, I go along with it.
I agree with you all. Kleenex is definitely the softer font and easier on the nose. Seriously, I'm editing a training manual for librarians who want to learn about assistive technology for patrons who struggle with or cannot read print. Some people can read a sans serif font but not a serif font. They have dyslexia, and simply changing the font can make the disability go away. Anyone want to know more, and I will email you a link to where the draft manual is posted. Love some feedback from non-librarians.

For us writers, why not just submit in whatever font the agent or publisher prefers. It's not like you have to buy a new typewriter.
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