Galerie typo – Frutiger

Font Designer: Adrian Frutiger, 1976

In 1968, Adrian Frutiger was commissioned to develop a sign and directional system for the new Airport Roissy, later named Charles de Gaulle Airport, in Paris. The font was bolder than original typesetting fonts in order to offer better legibility for the light boxes of the signage system. Adrian Frutiger worked carefully on the letterforms so that characters and words could be recognized even in poor light conditions or when the reader was moving quickly past the sign. He tested with unfocused letters to see which letterforms could still be identified.
The font was named Roissy after the airport. Dr. Greisner, managing director of D. Stempel AG, asked Adrian Frutiger if Stempel could make this typeface available for the Linotype typesetting machines. After slight modifications in stroke thickness, the first weights were produced. Over time the typeface family grew and today consists of 14 weights.
Adrian Frutiger drew each weight by hand, a necessity before the age of computers. The difference is letter spacing can be seen when comparing Frutiger® 45 light to Frutiger 55 roman. Linotype and Adrian Frutiger decided to redesign the Frutiger family for the Platinum Series, as they had done previously with Linotype Univers®. The typeface family with its more harmonized weights is now available as Frutiger Next. The italic weights have been reworked into a truer italic form than the original oblique versions.
Explanation of the number system of Frutiger fonts
Adrian Frutiger developed a two digit system to differentiate the weights of his first large typeface family, Univers. The base of the system was 55, the center of a roman upright font. The first digit of the classification expressed the thickness of the weights, for example, 4 is light, 5 is regular, and 9 is black. The second digit describes the type of weight, for example, 6 is italic, 7 is condensed.
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