Remembering an icon

by Richard Bassett

Following the sad passing of one of the world’s most well-known designers, Massimo Vignelli, last year, it was sad to hear of the death of yet another creative icon and arguably one of the most influential type designers of my time, Adrian Frutiger who passed last week at the age of 87.

  • Adrian was the creative mind behind some seriously important typefaces from the 20th century, all of which genuinely shaped the typographic and creative landscape. Some of his most well-known being sans-serif typefaces Frutiger, Univers, Avenir and the monospaced font OCR-B.

  • Frutiger is a humanist sans-serif that is based on a typeface he originally designed and developed for the Charles de Gaulle Airport at Roissy, France, where it was developed for the new signage and wayfinding system. Today you can find Frutiger doing the exact same job throughout Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. It was designed to be clear and highly legible at distance or small sizes, making it perfectly suited for all kinds of applications from signage and wayfinding to printed brochures and leaflets with small print. A versatile face.

  • It would be fair to assume that his namesake, Frutiger, which he created in 1976 under commission from the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, was his most famous creation. However, it’s also arguable that this isn’t actually the case, and that Univers, another sans-serif typeface he created some 20 years earlier holds the mantle of being his most well-known typeface.

  • To see Frutiger at work, simply take a look at our beloved NHS service, take a second glance at the street name signs next time you are in or around the Westminster area, or better still, take a trip to Amsterdam!

    R.I.P. Adrian Frutiger.

    To make sure you don’t miss out on our best ideas, news and insights, or if you’d like to receive invites to events that you really shouldn’t miss, you can subscribe to our mailing list here .

Hide comments >
comments powered by Disqus