Adrian Frutiger – Typographer (May 24, 1928, Unterseen – Septiembre 12, 2015, Bremgarten bei Bern)
From NARAN-HO Design, specialist in web design in and from Marbella, we are going to talk about Adrian Frutiger, one of the most brilliant and influential typographers of the 20th century. He is considered the father of modern typography. His work has greatly influenced the development of digital typefaces.
Since he was a child, Frutiger had approaches with art. His first intention was to study sculpture, but his father convinced him to enter the world of printing. He entered school of arts and crafts in Zurich (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste) in 1944, where he studied calligraphy design. In parallel, he was training as an apprentice at Otto Schaeffli‘s printing house.
In 1951, he started working at the French foundry Debeny & Peignot. It was here that he created President (1953) and Meridien (1955) typefaces. Last one as designed for the Lumitype system. In 1957 he launched one of his best known fonts: Univers, for photocomposition and composition on metal.
In 1960, Adrian Frutiger stopped working for Debeny & Peignot and opened his own studio in Paris. During the 1970s, he did design work for signage and logos. One of the most important was the design of the signage for the Paris Metro. For this, he used a variation of the Univers type and designed a numbering system to differentiate the different weights and sizes of the typeface to be used. This system has been very important for the development of the cataloging of typefaces and today it is practically a standard.
In 1976, Adrian Frutiger carried out another of his best-known works: the signaling system for the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. For this he used a new sans-serif typeface that he called Frutiger.
In 1994 he decided to return to Switzerland, settling in Bremgarten bei Bern. Here he opened a new studio, from which he worked with brands such as Swiss Post, Gaz de France and Electricité de France.
In 1997, Frutiger introduced its new Linotype Univers family design with 59 different weights, presented at the Typomedia 97 event.
Adrian Frutiger received many awards for his work and career. In addition, his contributions to typography were very important. He designed some of the most functional typefaces out there.
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If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape. The spoon and the letter are tools; one to take food from the bowl, the other to take information off the page… When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable because the letter is both banal and beautiful.
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.