Adrian Frutiger

Adrian Frutiger was a Swiss type designer and is one of the most influential creators of Swiss typography.

Adrian Frutiger (b. 24 May 1928 in Unterseen; † 10 September 2015 in Bremgarten near Bern) was a Swiss type designer. He is one of the most influential creators of Swiss typography.


Frutiger was the son of a hand weaver. After an apprenticeship as a typesetter at the Interlaken Buch und Kunstdruckerei Otto Schlaefli (now Verlag Schlaefli & Maurer AG) and studies at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts (1949-1951) with Alfred Willimann and Walter Käch (diploma thesis: Die europäische Schriftentwicklung vom Griechischen Lapidar-Alphabet bis zu Renaissance-Schriften), Frutiger first worked as a graphic designer in Zurich. In 1952 he became an employee of the Paris type foundry Deberny & Peignot, and in 1962 Frutiger founded his own graphic studio in Arcueil near Paris, together with Bruno Pfäffli and André Gürtler. For several years he taught part-time at the École Estienne and the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. From 1992 he lived in Bremgarten near Bern.

His two best-known typefaces are the sans serif linear antiqua Univers and Roissy, an early form of Frutiger, designed for Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Frutiger also designed numerous other typefaces, such as Avenir, Centennial, Iridium, Meridien and Serifa. His OCR-B, optimised for machine readability, became an ISO standard in 1973.

Frutiger's book Der Mensch und seine Zeichen (Man and his Signs), published in 1978, is regarded as a standard work on sign theory for practical graphic application, for example for the design of a logo. The book has been translated and published in seven languages.

Since 2003, traffic signs in Switzerland have been lettered using the ASTRA-Frutiger Standard and ASTRA-Frutiger Autobahn fonts.

Frutiger was married twice. His first wife, Paulette Flückiger, died in 1954 after the birth of their son Stéphane. In 1955 he married Simone Bickel, who died in 2008. The two daughters from this marriage, Anne-Sylvie and Annik, committed suicide at the age of 16 and 20 respectively. In their memory, the parents established the Fondation Adrian et Simone Frutiger, which supports neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric research.


The following typefaces were developed by Adrian Frutiger:

Apollo Monotype
Avenir Linotype
Avenir Next Linotype
Avenir Next Rounded Linotype
Breughel URW Type Foundry
Breughel LT Linotype
Egyptienne F Linotype
Frutiger Capitalis Linotype
Frutiger Next Linotype Erik Faulhaber
Frutiger Stones Linotype
Frutiger Symbols Linotype
Glypha Linotype
Herculanum Linotype
Humanist 777 Bitstream
Humanist Slabserif 712 Bitstream
Icone LT Linotype
Iridium LT Linotype
Latin 725 Bitstream
Linotype Centennial Linotype
Linotype Didot Linotype
Linotype Didot eText Linotype
Meridien Linotype
Monotype Ionic Monotype
Neue Frutiger Linotype Akira Kobayashi
Oceanwide Pro California Type Foundry Dave Lawrence
OCR B Letterpress URW Type Foundry
OCR-B BT Bitstream
OCR-B EF Elsner+Flake
Ondine Linotype
Ondine URW Type Foundry
Phoebus Linotype
Pompeijana Linotype
President Linotype
President URW Type Foundry
Rusticana Linotype
Serifa Bitstream
Serifa Elsner+Flake
Serifa Linotype
Serifa Tilde
Serifa URW Type Foundry
Serifa SB Scangraphic Digital Type Collection
Serifa SH Scangraphic Digital Type Collection
Univers Linotype
Univers Cyrillic Linotype
Univers Next LT Linotype
Univers Next Paneuropean Linotype
Vectora Linotype
Versailles Linotype
Westside Linotype
Zurich Bitstream

Honours and awards

  • 1986: Gutenberg Prize of the Gutenberg-Gesellschaft e. V.
  • 1987: Type Directors Club Medal of the New York Type Directors Club
  • 2006: Sota Award for lifetime achievement
  • 2007: Designer 2007 Award of the Federal Office of Culture of the Swiss Confederation for shaping the visual environment of millions of people
  • 2013: Culture Prize of the Bernese Oberland for lifetime achievement

Works (selection)

  • Man and his signs. Text editing by Horst Heiderhoff. 3 volumes. D. Stempel, Frankfurt am Main 1978/1979/1981; abridged version: Marix, Wiesbaden 2006, ISBN 3-86539-907-X.
  • Type, Sign, Symbol. ABC, Zurich 1980 (English, German, French).
  • A Life for Type. Schlaefli & Maurer, Interlaken 2003, ISBN 3-85884-015-7.
  • Reflections on Signs and Writing. Haupt, Bern 2005, ISBN 3-258-06811-9.
  • Symbols. Mysterious picture-writings, signs, signals, labyrinths, heraldry. Haupt, Bern 2008, ISBN 978-3-258-07323-1.


  • Erich Alb (ed.): Adrian Frutiger - Formen und Gegenformen / Forms and Counterforms. Syndor, Cham 1998, ISBN 3-908257-02-6.
  • Anja Bodmer, Jürg Brühlmann: Read Me - mit Adrian Frutiger durch die Welt der Zeichen und Buchstaben. Hochparterre, Zurich 2008, ISBN 978-3-909928-09-5.
  • Michael Düblin: Typefaces for People. In: Basler Magazin, No. 3/1997, 18 January 1997, p. 12 f. (PDF).
  • Swiss Foundation for Type and Typography, Heidrun Osterer, Philipp Stamm (eds.): Adrian Frutiger - Schriften. The Complete Works. Birkhäuser, Basel 2008, ISBN 978-3-7643-8576-7.
  • Christoph Zürcher: Frutiger, Adrian. In: Historical Dictionary of Switzerland. 2007.


  • Anne Cuneo: Adrian Frutiger - typeface designer. DVD. 2005, OCLC 315110710.


Visit our media section for a complete overview.


Adrian Frutiger
Avenir Next
Frutiger Next
Graphic Design
International Style
International Typographic Style
Linotype Centennial
Linotype Didot
New Frutiger
Swiss Style
Swiss Style Typographers


DeepDove: Style Network (2021-09-22). Swiss Style | Adrian Frutiger. Retrieved , from




This page was last changed on 2021-09-22.