Time magazine (print)- Type and Language


Time magazine is known for its distinct covers, which usually feature a red border and the word “Time” in the top center, which is also often red. They use a special typeface created for the masthead, and it is an elegant, serif typeface that is reminiscent of Times New Roman. The typeface used for the headlines inside the magazine is ITC Franklin, and it is a modern sans serif typeface with vertical lines. In spreads, the words of the headline are often stacked, bold, and sometimes in all-caps, emphasizing the clean modernity of the magazine.




The body copy used in Time magazine is Proforma, a sophisticated, and somewhat rounded, serif typeface that is extremely legible and reading-friendly. The beautiful serif body copy forms a nice contrast with the more straight-edged headlines. The body copy gives off a classy feel that suits that tone of this established, intellectual magazine, while the headlines reinforce that this is also a current magazine that is in touch with the times, and will adapt to them.

The longer feature articles in Time magazine are sometimes broken up into sections with subheads, and the typeface used for the subheads is usually bold, lower cased ITC Franklin. This establishes a hierarchy between the subheads and the body copy, as well as with the larger overarching headline for the story. The cutlines often have a name that is in lower case ITC Franklin, and a caption that is thin and italicized. The typefaces used ultimately convey that Time magazine is a serious publication, and a legitimate news source, and also establish that its target audience is educated adults.



The language used in Time magazine is serious and concise, on the whole, which suits its purpose as a news source. The headlines are often short and punchy, and do not give away the full story, such as “Men vs. Mountain”, “Encore in Iowa”, and “Bright Lights, Broad City”. These headlines are rhythmic, but don’t provide much information, leaving the reader wanting more. In consequence, the decks often provide more of an in depth explanation to the stories, such as with “How two athletes completed an “impossible” climb”, which went underneath the “Men vs. Mountain” story. The decks are still pretty concise, and nicely wrap up the gist of a story without saying too much. The story subheads are usually only a few words long, but nicely divide the story up so that it is easy to find things.

Pull quotes are occasionally used in the longer feature stories, and they can be an important part of a text that is enlarged, or quotes that are attributed to speakers. The pull quotes are often poignant and resonate with the reader. The byline is usually right below the deck, in a smaller size, and is formatted as such: “By Charlotte Alter”. This method is effective, because it is easy to find the byline but it does not overshadow the story. The sections in the magazine have straightforward, generic names, such as “briefing” and “features” and it suits the magazine, which emphasizes function over artistry or creativity. The language of Time magazine is serious and informative, on the whole, and adheres to the principle of wasting nothing.