Univers was designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1956 and released by the Deberny & Peignot type foundry in 1957. It is a neo-grotesque sans serif; it features optically even stroke weights and a large x-height to improve legibility. It’s become known for the variety of weights and set-widths included in the family. At the time it was designed it included 21 variations, and was the first type family to implement a numbering system as opposed to using names. Today there are over 27 different variations of Univers available. Univers is an extremely diverse typeface that has the ability to work very well at large display sizes for applications such as headlines and mastheads as well as in small sizes for body copy.
During the 1990s, Adrian Frutiger worked together with Linotype to expand his classic Univers family. The result, Linotype Univers, includes 63 different weights, each drawn carefully to ensure compatibility with all the others.
Additional information regarding history, usage as well as the entire family of typefaces can be found the Univers Family Page on Fonts.com.