Roman N. Times was a Scottish calligraphist most famous for enscribing the now-ubiquitous ‘Calibri’ font. Times was born in 1892, to a wealthy family of size 12. He was educated at Oxford University, where his studies in penmanship earned him a professorship at the age of 28. He became head of the university’s Calligraphy Society, where he met his to-be wife, Arial Black. They had two children, one of whom would take up the ghostwriter mantle of Rockwell E. Bold. Times passed away after 45 years of professorship at Oxford, and while Times’ impact during his life was understated, an autobiography published by a writer from The New Courier named Berlin Sans made his accomplishments so widely known that he became a household name.
Times wrote in a hard-frame style, using mainly stencils and soft-lead pencils to, in his own words, “blend precision with softness, to create the illusion of perfection while simultaneously undermining it, calling into question what art really is…” Times’ penmanship is featured on several historic documents, including the Treaty of Versailles and the Allies’ formal conditions for the Japanese surrender in WWII. Times was also commissioned for several private intercorporate contracts, with his writing on display in prolific places of business such as Goldman Sachs and Apple. One of Times’ final contributions to the world of calligraphy was to manually scribe Princess Diana’s birth certificate on July 1st, 1961, which is kept on file to this day at Buckingham Palace. Times also dabbled in music composition, with his magnum opus, Modern No. 20, still being performed by orchestras to this day.
Today, Times is survived by only one child, Gill Sans Times. After his ‘Calibri’ font became the standard at many academic institutions, Times is credited with inspiring many to embrace the world of font creation.