Monday, September 6, 2010

Adrian Frutiger and Univers

Adrian Frutiger is a well renowned typeface designer born in the late 1920’s in Switzerland. He studied print and the written form at an art school in Switzerland. Because of his ingenious work in the line of typography, at a time when this was not a prominent art form, Frutiger was called to work in a Paris type foundry. While there, he helped move the company from hot metal setting towards a newer and more productive process of type using phototypesetting, a step closer to the digital type setting we are familiar with today.
            Throughout his career, Futiger has developed dozens of typefaces, including: President, Versailles, Avenir, Serifa, Frutiger, Rusticana, and (the typeface we are using in project 1 of this class and arguably the most famous) Univers. Beginning in the late 1980’s, Adrian Frutiger has been decorated with many awards for his work in typography including The Gutenberg Prize of the City of Mainz (Germany), The Grand Prix National des Arts Graphiques (France) and in 2009 was inducted into the European Design Hall of Fame. He has also authored multiple books about his work and the field of typography.
            Adrian Futiger is currently in his early 90’s and continues to work as a typeface designer and has also broadened his work into other fields of design.

The typeface Univers is "unique" in that all the variations its family are not designated by names, as was the practice for typefaces at the time of its creation, but rather by two numbers. The first number is used to define the weight of the stroke while the second designates the width and position of the characters. The Univers Grid is a table that arranges the different variations of the Univers font family so that the numbers and styles of the fonts align in a way that is visibly cohesive. This chart shows the genius behind the numbering system upon which Univers is based. 


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