Stanley Morison

            Stanley Morison was an English typographer, scholar, and historian of printing. He was born on May 6, 1889 in Wanstead, England and he died on October 11, 1967 in London. He spent most of his time growing up at the family home him and his family had in London. It is known that after his father had abandoned him and the rest of his family, he left school at the age of fourteen. He was not really lucky with a lot of things that went on in his life. He had a few setbacks here and there at a young age. During the time of the first World War, he was imprisoned because he was a conscientious objector. After the war, he began to convert to Catholicism. This led him to begin a study of liturgical writings and even hymnals. Liturgical writings are rituals or scripts for the different forms of worship in churches. His love life was not all that lucky either. In 1916 he married a teacher, Mabel Williamson. However, their marriage was not like the fairy tale marriages that are portrayed on television today. You know, the ones that never seem to have problems and are just happy all of the time. For them, it was the opposite. In regards to their marriage, it was very unhappy. I can only imagine the things that they went through that made things so unhappy for them. Things got bad enough to the point that he eventually separated from his wife and went on to live his life as a successful typographer.

            Upon receiving an elementary school education, he became a clerk in the London City Mission. He first became interested in typography and type design after he read The Times in 1912 while working in the London City Mission. He eventually joined the publication of a new periodical called The Imprint. Working with this publication allowed him to gain more understanding of typography and type design and granted him with more exposure to working with it. It even made way for him to gain a job by the publishers, Burnes and Oates . He also got to work with other artists when he became a founding member of the Fleuron Society in 1922. Some of these artists included individuals like Francis Meynell (a British poet and printer), Holbrook Jackson (a British journalist, writer, and publisher), Bernard Newdigate (a British printer and typographer), and Oliver Simon. In 1923, he received the role of typographic adviser to the Monotype Corporation. Monotype corporation is a company that specializes in typesetting and typeface design. He also was appointed to be the typographic adviser to Cambridge University Press in 1923. He held this position until 1959.

            Have you ever sat back and wondered who created all of the typefaces that we use today for some of our day to day assignments? I know I have. What makes Stanley Morison so special was that he created one of the most famous and common typefaces that is still used today in papers and other things made by mostly everyone. In 1929, he began working with The Times. His time working with them allowed him to create a new typeface, one of which we all use today, Times New Roman. This typeface was designed to be used for newspapers, which is why it is narrower than most other typefaces. It made its first appearance on October 3, 1932. It was later called the most successful typeface of much of the 20th century. Not only was he the creator of Times New Roman, he also created other typefaces as well. For example, he created Times, Times Ten, Times Eighteen, and Times Central European. All of these typefaces were created within the span of two years. He even collaborated with other artists to design new typefaces. He had a hand in revising and commissioning other typefaces as well, one of which was Gill Sans. All of his typefaces were created in such a way that makes it easy to read and understand. That sounds like the work of a dedicated and enthusiastic individual who loves what he does. What makes this even better was the fact that he was a self taught artist. How often is it to see a self taught artist create something so valued by the world then and even now? Since being created, Times New Roman has continued to be commonly used by most artists, especially writers, today.

            To me, Stanley Morison can be considered as one of the most influential and enthusiastic typographers there were during his time. From all of the effort that he put in to earn his many accomplishments, create many works or art, and his many leadership contributions that allowed him to cooperate with and influence the work of others, you can really see that he enjoyed what he did during his lifetime. Even through his few setbacks with being imprisoned and separating from his wife, he still lived his life and became a successful and well known artist. His contribution with Times New Roman really changed the game back then for newspapers and other works of art that were created. It still continues to work its magic for our generations today with our many assignments that we complete. For almost every paper that I have had to write throughout my entire life has had to be Times New Roman with a twelve point font. It still continues to be that way today, and I am now in college. I know that I can not be the only one who was told this. I have always wondered why it had to be in this font. The only thing that I could come up with was the fact that it makes articles or other forms of text easier to read. It also makes your work look really smooth once it is all typed out. Without the dedication, time, and hard work put in by Stanley Morison, we would not have the honor to use such an amazing typeface today and even for the many years to come.



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