The Rotis ® Serif Font family was the result of a design experiment by prominent graphic designer, Otl Aicher. Seeking to create a universal typeface family, Aicher developed Rotis® Serif in tandem with the Rotis® Semi Sans font family, the Rotis® Sans font family and the Rotis® Semi Serif font family in the early 80s.
At the apex of a long and successful career in design that included such landmark designs as the graphic and design front of the Munich Olympics and the logo for Lufthansa, Otl Aicher decided to settle at a studio in the south of Germany to work on personal projects and as a consultant for German kitchen company, bulthaup. Perhaps his most well-known design project of this time was the development of the Rotis Font Superfamily for Agfa in 1989.
With the end goal of creating a universal typeface with multiple applications, Aicher created Rotis Serif as one element in a superfamily that could transcend classical distinctions between serifs and sans serifs. It is an antiqua typeface with full serifs and a high contrast between heavy and light strokes. It includes 55 Roman, 56 Italic, 65 Bold fonts. Interestingly, Aicher did not want Rotis Serif or any of the typefaces in the Rotis superfamily to be capitalized, as he regarded uppercase letters as an oppressive, hierarchical symbol.
Aicher passed away just three years after Rotis Serif’s release in 1991. In the years since, Monotype Imaging has acquired the rights to the entire Rotis superfamily and reissued it under the Monotype Originals label. bulthaup has maintained Aicher’s studio as a working facility.
Rotis Serif has been employed for signage in major transportation systems from Hong Kong to London. Until 2008, Rotis Serif was employed as a logotype element in the logo for Citibank subsidiary, Citistreet. It is also used for branding at several educational institutions, including the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.