The Serifa® font family is a design by Adrian Frutiger based loosely on his earlier Univers font as well as older slab serif designs. Its serif design does not however mean that the font is crude – quite the opposite. Serifa is available in six weights as well as italic variants.
The design career of Adrian Frutiger is a very interesting one. Born in Unterseen, Canton of Bern in Switzerland in 1928, the weaver’s son experimented with script from a very early age. With a passion for all things creative including sculpture, Frutiger planned to become a sculptor but was ushered away from the craft by his father and secondary schoolteachers. Instead, he was encouraged into the world of printing.
Serifa and its condensed counterpart, the Glypha® font are based on an earlier Frutiger design, the Univers® family. The Univers font (1957) was one of the very first faces created specifically for the Deberny Et Peignot foundry phototypesetting equipment as well as the more traditional metal type. Starting with Univers, Frutiger created a special system to maintain consistency within the font faces he created. The system was based on a pair of numbers, the first of which referred to the font weight (3-8) and the second to the normal/italic characteristic.
Univers was very well received, making the Serifa font a natural progression and a typeface Frutiger started designing in 1964. Serifa was released by the Bauer Type Foundry 1967 and subsequently adopted by Linotype.
In certain creative situations, Serifa can be used as a standalone design element, lending itself well to minimalism. Such situations might include the construction of a corporate logo or complete company image as well as an unfussy business card design.
Slab serif fonts in general are very adaptable and have the tendency to fit into some unusual artistic circumstances, giving assignments a unique flair. From simplicity to the “Wanted” posters commonly found in Western films, Slab serifs have left their marks almost everywhere.
In the present day, Serifa has become very popular in printed magazine layouts as well as newspapers, its digital medium being a far cry from the slab serif faces cut from wood in the nineteenth century.