Linotype Univers™ is a completely reworked version of the original Univers typeface family designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1957. After a long process of painstakingly detailed revision, Frutiger and the design staff at Linotype completed this large joint project in 1997. The result: a brilliant and cohesive font family of 63 weights and styles including the 4 monospaced typewriter weights.
All of the existing weights were completely redrawn, with careful attention paid to making the proportions more consistent with each other and improving fine details such as curves and thick-to-thin stroke ratios. The family was expanded from 27 to 63 weights, providing a much larger framework to graphic designers for choosing just the right style. The bold and condensed weights were reworked for improved legibility and on-screen application. The stroke weights were revised for consistency within each face as well as in relationship to the other weights. By following Frutiger's original designs, the humanist character of the sans serif Univers now comes through more distinctly.
The systemized numbering system has also been updated. With its sturdy, clean forms Univers can facilitate an expression of cool elegance and rational competence. In fact, the strong familial relationships between all the styles and weights make it a serviceable choice for large graphic design projects that require versatility with consistency. Frutiger was successful in staying true to his initial aims; the new Linotype Univers does indeed work in longer texts as well as for display settings.
The original Univers design was licensed to a wide variety of metal and phototype font providers. While each attempted to maintain absolute accuracy to Frutiger’s original drawings, because of the various and different requirements of the typesetting equipment that used the fonts, perfect replications were not possible. In 1995, a German finance company with worldwide branches decided to use the semi-bold Univers 65 in its original form. But the exact design was not available in every country and this posed a problem in creating a consistent, worldwide corporate design.
Linotype’s solution was to create a “new” version of the typeface that was a more accurate interpretation of the original metal typeface. In the process, the company approached Frutiger to approve the design and to create new weights for the family. “Linotype planned to extend the Univers family, as had already been done with Neue Helvetica,” recalls Frutiger. “They asked me if I would like to help them with the drawings for additional designs. Of course I accepted the offer with enthusiasm. It filled me with joy to feel once again how these forms completely match my deepest imaginings.” These new designs eventually became the Univers Next, a typeface family that has grown to over 75 members.
Sony has an e-book reader with six font styles available, one of them is the Univers Next. Because of its legibility you will find the font on many POP stands and other retail-related signage.