Computer Modern

The very old typeface Computer Modern was designed in 1978, and was last updated in 1992. Which is to say, it evolved during the Precambrian period of digital typography.

And now, Computer Modern has a web version, so you can use it on your site.

There are a few good reasons why you might want to do this:

  • Your audience is mostly academic people used to publishing theses and journal articles with LaTeX (which has used CM as its default typeface since the 1970s)
  • Technological anachronisms for their own sake are your thing
  • You are thinking of changing your site’s default typeface from Times New Roman but still want to keep things pretty generic.

Serious question: is there any work for which Computer Modern is supremely appropriate — keeping in mind that we are now almost in the year 2014? Practically the first thing I did when I started using LaTeX for book publishing was to find a way to use something besides Computer Modern, or any of the other included TeX fonts.

I can appreciate that it has a sound technical implementation and was a critical part of Knuth’s master plan. What I haven’t found are any thorough defenses of it as a timeless example of great type design.