Adrian Frutiger

Adrian Frutiger was born on May 24, 1928, in Unterseen, Switzerland to parents who were both weavers. At a tender age, he is said to have begun “experimenting with stylized handwriting and invented scripts”; thereby rebelling against the standard cursive being taught in Swiss schools. After having attended school, at the age of sixteen, he was made an apprentice (serving as a compositor) to Otto Schlaeffli, a printer in Interlaken. At the same time, he took classes in drawing and woodcuts at the Gewerbeschule in Bern under Walter Zerbe, for three years. After such education and years of experience, he moved to Paris in 1952, and took up the job as the artistic director at the type foundry, Deberny & Peignot. In 1962, he turned to forming a studio for graphic arts along with Andre Gürtler and Bruno Pfäffli, in Arcueil near Paris. All this time, he incorporated his love for sculpting in his typeface designs.



But what were some of his works and other involvements? Aside from the large number of his now world famous typefaces, including Univers and Frutiger, he also created signets, logos, corporate typefaces and corporate identities for various publishers and industrial enterprises. For the airport in Paris Orly and the Paris Metro, he conceived new lettering systems and created a new information system for the Charles de Gaulle airport.

In addition, with the emergence of computers, his type (called “OCR B”), used for automatic reading, became a worldwide standard in 1973. Frutiger was also a lecturer for ten years at the Ecole Estienne and at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs, for eight years. He had also given and conducted numerous seminars around the world.

From 1963 to 1981, he was responsible for the design and adaptation of typewriter and composer fonts at the IBM World Fair. Many argue that Frutiger created some of the most used typefaces of the 20th and 21st century. As a typographer, he was one of few who had a career that traversed “hot metal, photographic and digital typesetting.” He had also been instrumental in refining his own typefaces to include more weights and true italics, some examples are Frutiger Next and Avenir Next. Adrian Frutiger died on September 10, 2015, at age eighty seven.

Works influenced/inspired by Frutiger

AdrianFrutiger-Avenir-1988-poster-by-InesVital-1988 Ines Vital, Adrian Frutiger Avenir Poster, Poster, 1988

WEBFRUTIGER Michael R. Sweeney. Frutiger, Digital Print, date unknown


Adrian Frutiger. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from

Famous Graphic Designers – Adrian Frutiger. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from

Type – Adapted to Everyday Life. Retrieved October 18, 2015, from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s