The Iconic Fonts Of The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Times is one of the most widely read newspapers in Southern California and has developed a strong visual brand identity through its use of classic serif fonts.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Los Angeles Times uses Mergenthaler Linotype as its main headline font and Times New Roman for body text.

In this in-depth article, we’ll take a close look at the typography of the LA Times – from its print edition to digital platforms. We’ll cover the history behind its signature fonts, the subtle design changes over the years, and how the Times’ fonts contribute to its authoritative yet approachable style.

Font History and Inspiration

Fonts play a crucial role in shaping the visual identity of a newspaper. They evoke emotions, convey messages, and capture the essence of the publication. The Los Angeles Times, one of the most iconic newspapers in the United States, has a rich history of using fonts that have become synonymous with its brand.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of fonts and explore the history and inspiration behind the iconic fonts used by the Los Angeles Times.

Mergenthaler Linotype – The LA Times Headline Font

When you think of the bold, impactful headlines of the Los Angeles Times, you can’t help but think of the Mergenthaler Linotype font. This font, known for its strong and commanding presence, has been the go-to choice for the newspaper’s headlines since its inception.

The Mergenthaler Linotype font lends a sense of authority and importance to the news stories, capturing the attention of readers and drawing them into the articles.

The Mergenthaler Linotype font was developed in the late 19th century by Ottmar Mergenthaler, a German-American inventor. This revolutionary font was created with the intention of speeding up the typesetting process, allowing for quicker and more efficient newspaper production.

Its impact on the newspaper industry was immense, and it soon became the standard font for headlines in newspapers across the country.

Times New Roman – Body Text Font Since the 1960s

While the Mergenthaler Linotype font is synonymous with the headlines of the Los Angeles Times, the body text font used by the newspaper is Times New Roman. This classic and timeless font has been the mainstay for body text since the 1960s, providing a clean and legible reading experience for the readers.

Times New Roman was designed by Stanley Morison and Victor Lardent in 1931 for the British newspaper, The Times. Its popularity grew rapidly, and it soon became the default font for many newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times.

The font’s versatility and readability make it an ideal choice for longer articles and feature stories, ensuring that readers can easily consume and understand the content.

Mid-Century Influences on Typography

The use of the Mergenthaler Linotype font for headlines and Times New Roman for body text by the Los Angeles Times is a reflection of the mid-century influences on typography. During this period, there was a shift towards cleaner and more streamlined designs, with a focus on legibility and readability.

Typography in the mid-century era was heavily influenced by modernist principles, which emphasized simplicity and functionality. The clean lines and geometric shapes of fonts like Mergenthaler Linotype and Times New Roman perfectly encapsulate these design ideals, making them timeless choices for newspapers like the Los Angeles Times.

Font Use in Print vs. Digital

When it comes to presenting content, the Los Angeles Times understands the importance of choosing the right font for each platform. The newspaper carefully considers the differences between print and digital mediums when making font choices, taking into account factors such as readability, brand consistency, and user experience.

Print Edition Font Choices and Sizing

In the print edition of the Los Angeles Times, font choices and sizing are carefully selected to ensure optimal readability. The newspaper uses a combination of serif and sans-serif fonts, with serif fonts often used for body text and sans-serif fonts for headlines and subheadings.

The font sizes are chosen to be legible for readers of all ages, with a balance between being visually appealing and easy to read.

One popular font choice for the Los Angeles Times print edition is Imprint MT Shadow, which gives the newspaper a classic and timeless look. This font is known for its elegance and readability, making it a perfect choice for extended reading.

Digital Platform Adaptations

When it comes to the digital platforms of the Los Angeles Times, font choices need to be adapted to ensure a seamless reading experience on screens of various sizes. The newspaper takes into account the limitations of different devices and chooses fonts that are optimized for digital use.

One common font used in the Los Angeles Times’ digital platforms is Roboto. This font is known for its versatility and legibility on screens, making it a practical choice for online reading. The Los Angeles Times also pays attention to font scaling and line spacing to ensure text remains readable even when viewed on smaller devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Readability and Brand Consistency Across Formats

One of the primary concerns for the Los Angeles Times is maintaining readability and brand consistency across different formats. While font choices may differ between print and digital, the newspaper ensures that the overall look and feel of the fonts align with its brand identity.

Consistency in font usage helps establish a recognizable and trusted brand image. The Los Angeles Times strives to maintain a cohesive visual identity by selecting fonts that reflect its journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering news to its readers.

Whether it’s in print or on a digital platform, the font choices of the Los Angeles Times contribute to a consistent and recognizable reading experience.

Why the LA Times Fonts Work

The Los Angeles Times is known for its iconic fonts that have become synonymous with the newspaper’s brand. These fonts have been carefully selected and designed to not only capture the attention of readers but also convey the newspaper’s editorial voice and design.

Here are a few reasons why the LA Times fonts work so effectively:

Visual Authority of Serif Fonts

One of the main reasons why the fonts used by the LA Times work so well is because they are serif fonts. Serif fonts have small decorative lines at the ends of characters, which give them a more traditional and authoritative look.

This visual authority is important for a newspaper like the LA Times, as it helps establish credibility and trustworthiness with its readers. When readers see the serif fonts used in the newspaper’s headlines and articles, they immediately associate them with a reputable source of news and information.

In fact, studies have shown that serif fonts are more effective in conveying information and enhancing reading comprehension compared to sans-serif fonts. The LA Times understands this and has made a deliberate choice to use serif fonts to ensure that their content is not only visually appealing but also easy to read and understand.

Approachable Styling for a Wide Audience

While serif fonts are often associated with traditional and formal contexts, the LA Times has managed to strike a balance by pairing them with an approachable styling. The fonts used by the LA Times are clean, legible, and have a modern touch to them, making them appealing to a wide audience.

This combination of visual authority and approachability allows the LA Times to cater to both its loyal readers who appreciate the newspaper’s long-standing reputation and younger audiences who are drawn to its contemporary design.

The LA Times fonts also take into consideration the reading habits of its diverse audience. With the rise of digital media, people consume news on various devices and platforms. The fonts used by the LA Times are optimized for both print and digital mediums, ensuring a consistent and enjoyable reading experience across different channels.

Consistency in Editorial Voice and Design

Consistency is key when it comes to establishing a strong brand identity, and the LA Times understands this well. The fonts used by the newspaper are consistent across all its platforms, whether it’s the print edition, website, or mobile app.

This consistency in font choice helps create a cohesive editorial voice and design that readers can easily recognize and associate with the LA Times.

Moreover, the LA Times fonts work in harmony with other design elements, such as color schemes and layout, to create a visually appealing and immersive reading experience. By maintaining this consistency in its fonts and design, the LA Times has been able to build a strong and recognizable brand that stands out in the crowded media landscape.


The Los Angeles Times has crafted a strong visual identity through its considered use of classic serif fonts like Mergenthaler for headlines and Times New Roman for body text.

This combination lends the Times an authoritative yet accessible style that appeals to its broad Southern California readership. As the publication has evolved from print to digital, it has carefully adapted its fonts for optimized readability while maintaining brand consistency across formats.

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