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Adrian Frutiger

Indices : Designers : Adrian Frutiger (born March 24, 1928)

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.

The Types of Adrian Frutiger:

• President (1952)

Although often disregarded, this was Frutiger’s first commercially released typeface, by the Deberny & Peignot type foundry. The typeface was crucial in Frutiger’s development as a designer and taught him much about letterforms that he applied to his future designs.

• Phoebus (1953)

• Ondine (1954)

• Méridien (1955)

Méridien is considered to be Frutiger’s first significant typeface, and inspired by 16th-century Jenson.

• Egyptienne (1956)

This is a slab-serif face designed right before he designed Univers, and has many resemblances to the style of Clarendon.

Univers (1956)

• Apollo (1962)

Apollo is an old-style serif typeface designed to have the dual functionality of headline as well as body text.

• Serifa (1967)

Serifa is a slab-serif design, based on the forms of Univers. It was designed to be used a large variety of sizes.

OCR-B (1968)

The typeface used for optical character recognition in America (OCR-A) was deemed inappropriate for use in Europe. Fruitger was commissioned to design this typeface to be used for European OCR while remaining aesthetically pleasing.

• Iridium (1975)

Iridium is a serif type designed with a relatively strong contrast between the thick and thin strokes.

Frutiger (1975)

• Glypha (1979)

Glypha is another slab-serif based on the forms of Univers, much like Serifa, but with a larger x-height for greater legibility, and more weights.

• Icone (1980)

A typeface based on stone inscriptions found in Normandy and Ireland.

• Breughel (1982)

A serif type designed for book and use at text sizes; like Meridien it was based on the forms of 16th century Jenson.

• Versailles (1982)

A serif typeface suitable for headlines and small amounts of copy that was based on inscriptions from 19th century France, in particular those found on the back of the tombstone of Charles Garnier.

Avenir (1988)

Avenir, French for future, is a geometric sans-serif, with many similarities to Futura. It was designed in a number of different weights. The forms of the letters are not completely geometric and this aspect of the face is what gives it its own distinct character that separates it from other geometrics such as Futura and Century Gothic. Avenir is also highly legible, and has recently been revised, like Frutiger Next, by Linotype and Frutiger himself to include true italics and other features. The new family is called Avenir Next

• Vectora (1990)

Vectora is a sans-serif typeface inspired by American-styled typefaces such as Franklin and News Gothic.


“Adrian Frutiger.” Wikipedia. 06 May 2005 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Frutiger.

“Frutiger.” Wikipedia. 06 May 2005 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frutiger.

Kunz, Willi. Typography: Macro + Microaesthetics. Zurich, Switzerland: Verlag Niggli, 1998. 22-23.

Linotype. 06 May 2005 - http://www.linotype.com.

Müller-Brockmann, Josef. Grid Systems In Graphic Design. Zurich, Switzerland: Verlag Niggli, 1996. 22.

“Univers.” Wikipedia. 06 May 2005 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univers.

A postage stamp designed by Adrian Frutiger