Times New Arial mutates familiar fonts into something wholly new

The most ubiquitous typefaces of the internet age mashed together make for an elegant slice of modern nostalgia.

A project out of design studio Libermann Kiepe Reddemann (LKR) in Hamburg, Germany, in conjunction with designer Elias Hanzer, Times New Arial is a variable font that combines two of the most instantly recognizable fonts of the last two decades. Variable fonts are children of the internet. They’re single font files that can dynamically adjust their height, width, slant, or other attributes without the need for a larger font file size, which makes them great for responsive web design.

An example of a variable font at work by Erik van Blokland.LettError Type & Typography

“The possibility to use custom fonts in the world wide web is rather new and has only been possible since the introduction of CSS2 in 1998,” LKR explains. “Until then it was only possible to use fonts for the web that were installed on the user’s computer, the so-called system fonts.” Those system fonts were Times New Roman — the serif option — and Arial — the grotesque or sans-serif one.

That’s why, according to LKR, that pair of fonts “nowadays embody default and nostalgic web design.” In an interview with It's Nice That, LKR's David Liebermann says, "We wanted to combine this conventional aesthetic with new technical possibility in order to revive and refine them, so in turn, we could experiment with them in our projects."

Cool, but to what end? — “With the new technique of variable fonts it is now possible to combine the two visual extremes in one interpolated typeface,” LKR explains. “The new technological possibilities transfer the meaning of this hybrid font into a new era of font usage.”

Which is really to say, even they don’t really know for sure. Times New Arial is part of LKR’s new visual identity, and anyone looking to use it for their own design projects, collaborations, or education can get in touch with the studio about using it. But ultimately, the font is more like a concept car or a piece of art for now: it’s an idea made manifest that combines design technology and typographic geekery with nostalgia. Which is right up our alley.