World renowned typeface designer, Adrian Frutiger, was commissioned by the Charles De Gaulle Airport near Paris in the late 1960s to develop a typeface for airport signage. Instead of adapting his previously designed Univers® family, he developed something new that would also go on to become a classic – the Frutiger® typeface. The new design was completed in 1975 and installed at the airport that same year.
Frutiger was originally contacted in 1968 by representatives of France’s Charles De Gaulle Airport to create a typeface for use both in and outdoors. Seven years later, Frutiger – then called Roissy – was completed and applied throughout the recently opened airport.
Frutiger set off to develop a typeface that combined the legibility of humanistic sans serif typefaces with the geometric lines of Univers. As a result, Frutiger’s namesake design is distinctive and ideal for a variety of uses. Given the intended application of airport signage, the Frutiger typeface family had to be legible from a large variety of distances and angles. The typeface was released to the public by the Germany-based Stempel typeface foundry in 1976. Frutiger has since been adopted by many corporations and governments for its modern yet warm look.
In addition to being used throughout the Charles De Gaulle Airport, Frutiger is used in the identity of brands such as the British Royal Navy, Telefónica O2, DHL and Raytheon. Passengers on California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system may recognize Frutiger in use on signage and route maps.
Frutiger has been improved and re-released numerous times since its 1976 debut. Additional versions include Frutiger Next, Frutiger Arabic, Neue Frutiger, and Frutiger Greek variants.