For more than 50 years, Adrian Frutiger made the world legible.
A type designer who died on Sept. 10 at 87 in his native Switzerland, Mr. Frutiger created some of the most widely used fonts of the 20th century, seen daily in airports, on street signs and in subway stations around the world.
Mr. Frutiger, whose career spanned the era of hot lead and the age of silicon, created some 40 fonts, a vast number for one lifetime. Praised for an elegant readability that belied their rigorous engineering, his typefaces over the years have graced signs in the Paris Métro and many international airports, and on Swiss highways and some London streets.
“Frutiger is basically the best signage type in the world because there’s not too much ‘noise’ in it, so it doesn’t call attention to itself,” Erik Spiekermann, a prominent German type designer and a longtime friend of Mr. Frutiger, said by telephone on Wednesday. “It makes itself invisible, but physically it’s actually incredibly legible.”
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