Sunday, August 30, 2009

TYPOGRAPHY 3: Font Family & History: Frutiger

"From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader." —Adrian Frutiger
Work of Jannis Gundermann (

This poster visually explores the intended usage of Adrian Frutiger's self-titled typeface "Frutiger". Created in 1968 for the French "Charles De Gaulle" airport in Paris it makes a clear, precise and highly legible signage typeface. 

Adrian Frutiger is best known as a type-designer. He has produced some of the most well known and widely used typefaces. He was born in 1928 in Interlaken, Switzerland, and by the age of 16 was working as a printer’s apprentice near his home town. Following this he moved to Zurich where he studied at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts, under Professor Walter Kach.

After his education in Zurich, Frutiger moved to Paris where he started to work at the Deberny & Peignot typefoundry. Here he helped the foundry move classic typefaces used with traditional printing methods to newer phototypesetting technologies.

At the same time Frutiger started to design his own typefaces, a few of which became very significant, and this earned him his status as a great type designer. Throughout his career he has produced a number of books, such as:

Type, Sign, Symbol (1980)
Signs and Symbols: Their Design and Meaning (1989)
The International Type Book (1990)
Geometry of Feelings (1998)
The Development of Western Type Carved in Wood Plates (1999)
Forms and Counterforms (1999)
Life Cycle (1999)
The Univers (1999)
Symbols and Signs: Explorations (1999)

Today his typefaces are readily available from a number of different foundries. He is still alive (2005) and has worked on revisions with Linotype of a number of his typefaces. Such recent collaborations have resulted in Frutiger Next and Avenir Next, which have included refined forms and true italics. Presently Frutiger lives in Bern, Switzerland and is working with woodcuts.

• President (1952)
• Phoebus (1953)
• Ondine (1954)
• M√©ridien (1955)
• Egyptienne (1956)
• Univers (1956)
• Apollo (1962)
• Serifa (1967)
• OCR-B (1968)
• Iridium (1975)
Frutiger (1975)
• Glypha (1979)
• Icone (1980)
• Breughel (1982)
• Versailles (1982)
• Avenir (1988)
Avenir Next
• Vectora (1990)

This typeface was designed by Adrian Frutiger and was commissioned by the Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris for usage on directional signage. Frutiger is a humanist sans-serif, and has become one of Adrian Frutiger’s best-known typefaces, along with Univers. The weight of the forms are much less monotone than Univers, and due to these subtle thicks and thins the typeface has far more character. Since the 1980s, the fonts have been available in digital form from Linotype.

Frutiger has been an extreme success, and in 2003 it has been revised (ASTRA-Frutiger) for use on highway signage in Switzerland. In addition, the typeface was revised and updated in 1999 by Adrian Frutiger himself (together with Linotype) to include true italics among other features; this typeface is called Frutiger Next.

Frutiger's goal was to create a sans serif typeface with the rationality and cleanliness of Univers, but with the organic and proportional aspects of Gill Sans. The result is that Frutiger is a distinctive and legible typeface. The letter properties were suited to the needs of Charles De Gaulle – modern appearance and legibility at various angles, sizes, and distances. Ascenders and descenders are very prominent, and apertures are wide to easily distinguish letters from each other.

The Frutiger family was released publicly in 1976, by the Stempel type foundry in conjunction with Linotype. Frutiger's simple and legible, yet warm and casual character has made it popular today in advertising and small print. Some major uses of Frutiger are in the corporate identity of Raytheon, the National Health Service in England, Telefónica O2, the British Royal Navy, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Conservative Party of Canada, the Banco Bradesco in Brazil, the Finnish Defence Forces and on road signs in Switzerland. The typeface has also been used across the public transport network in Oslo, Norway since the 1980s. In 2008 it was the fifth best-selling typeface of the Linotype foundry.[1]

Also, it is used by DHL Globally and by DPWN Deutsche Post in Germany....

  Logos & signage in use today using Frutiger (above)

History and typeface information courtesy of Wikipedia and Typophile:

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