Adrian Frutiger’s most famous font is Univers, which is appropriately named, considering that it seems to be everywhere. Univers has been used for the eBay logo, CNN graphics, Walt Disney World signs, George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, and Canadian subway systems. Like many fonts designed by Frutiger, who died at 87, on September 10, Univers is used so frequently that it’s easy to forget just how important it is.
Frutiger, a Swiss type designer, also created the fonts for airport signs, barcode numbers, and museum brochures. Many of these are sans serif and meant to be seen from far away—he was perhaps best known for designing typefaces that could be read while traveling. Knowing that the way we read was changing with new technology, he also adjusted his designs accordingly over his long career. (In 2014 Degruyter published a 400-page volume on Frutiger’s important contributions to the field of typography, describing the development process of the 50 fonts he designed and documenting the numerous ways the technical aspects the field evolved over the past 30 years.)
Below is a graphic that looks at Frutiger’s game-changing, user-friendly designs. Mouse over a font name to see where it has been used.
CREDITS FOR ALL ABOVE IMAGES, EXCEPT WHERE NOTED:
USED WITH PERMISSION FROM: ADRIAN FRUTIGER – TYPEFACES: THE COMPLETE WORKS, BY HEIDRUN OSTERER AND PHILIPP STAMM, EDITED BY SCHWEIZERISCHE STIFTUNG SCHRIFT UND TYPOGRAPHIE, BIRKHÄUSER, BASEL, 2014;
UNIVERS SECTION: BOTTOM LEFT: CHMOD007/GJO/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS; BOTTOM RIGHT: ©2004 THE OFFICE OF GEORGE W. BUSH, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED;
AVENIR SECTION: FROM TOP: ©LINKEDIN, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; ©AT&T, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; ©GIRL SCOUTS OF THE USA, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED