The Univers® typeface is one of the most popular, sans serif designs of the 20th century. Adrian Frutiger’s goal in developing Univers was to create a modern interpretation of traditional 19th century grotesques. He began drawing the faces in 1953 but the family was not released until 1957. Univers was also one of the few typefaces designed for both metal and phototypesetting technologies.
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.