Page 1

U

UNIVERS AL

TYPOGRAPHY A Introduction to the Art of Type & the Type Univers


Cap Line Mean Line

Base Line


B Sans Serif Refers to a category of fonts characterized by a lack of serifs

Universal Typography | 1

Counter The enclosed space in a letter

Bowl A curved stroke, enclosing the counter

The Basics Serif Small decorative stroke at the ends of a letterform; also refers to typefaces that use serifs

Stem A vertical stroke, the primary stroke of the letter

Typography is the arrangement of letterform and the visual component of written language. The study of typography ranges from a stroke of a single letter to text across pages. It is the basis of our print and media content. In this book we will be studying the concept of typography, specifically looking at Univers, a typeface created by designer Adrian Frutiger in 1957.


2 | Univers 1957 Ascender The stroke of a letterform that ascends above the x-height

Aperture The opening of a character with a counter

Typefac Descender The stroke of a letterform that descends below the baseline

Bar A horizontal stroke of a character

Shoulder A curved stroke off of the stem of a character

Terminal The end of a stroke (without serif)


gg Universal Typography | 3

Kerning The spacing between individual letterforms

Spine The main curve and body of the letter “s”

ces

x-height

a a aa a aaa

Univers

a aaa

Gill Sans

Minion Pro

cap height

Link The connector stroke in a two part lowercase letter “g”

Typefaces vs. Fonts Many people tend to use the words typeface and font interchangeably but they are in fact different. The typeface is made up of a family of fonts. For example, Times New Roman is a typeface, in which Regular, Bold and Italics are fonts. To the left are a few rows of typefaces with samples of fonts in their families.

Loop The bottom stroke of the letter “g”


4 | Univers 1957

The Designer Adrian Frutiger (1928-2016) was one of the most important type designers to emerge since World War II. He designed many notable faces, the best known being the sans serifs Univers and Frutiger. He was also one of the first designers to create type for film. Although Frutiger has said that all his types have Univers as their skeleton, when he came to design a face for the Charles de Gaulle Airport at

Roissy, he felt that Univers seemed dated, with a 1960’s feel. His airport face, originally known as Roissy but renamed Frutiger for its issue to the trade by Mergenthaler Linotype in 1976, is a humanistic sans serif that has been compared to Gill and Johnston types. Frutiger has created a broad range of typefaces including OCR-B a type for optical character recognition.


Universal Typography | 5

His 1982 Breughel is an original face almost wholly comprised of curves and fitting into no existing type category. He has embraced new technology and used it to advantage in faces such as Centennial, a modern whose fine serifs are made possible by recent improvements in definition. More than ten years earlier, his font, Iridium had demonstrated that the classical modern face was neither outdated nor necessarily caused legibility problems. Frutiger himself is skeptical about theories of legibility. He learned to read with gothic characters without difficulty and says legibility is solely a matter of habit.1

1 Pincus W. Jaspert, The Encyclopaedia of Typefaces. (Poole, Dorset: Blandford Press, 1983), 69-70.


6 | Univers 1957

UNIVER 39 45 45 47

47

53

53

55

55

57

57

63

63

65

65

67

67

73

73

75


Universal Typography | 7

The Type

RS

5

75

85

85

93

93

O O

Univers was first released in 1957 by the Deberny and Peignot foundry in Paris. Univers is unique for its numbering system in naming typefaces. This system is used in some of Arian’s other fonts as well, including Frutiger. With 44 typefaces in the font family, Univer’s incredible adaptability has led it to be one of the most used sans serif types up to date.

Univers (top) in comparison with a perfect circle (top left): though both have a vertical axis, the circle appears formless due to its uniformity in shape and weight. Minion Pro (bottom) has a diagonal axis, characteristic of serif fonts in comparison to the vertical axis of Univers and similar san serifs

Inspired by his study of the limitations of existing sans serifs, Frutiger began with the assumption that “a purely geometric character is unacceptable in the long run, for the vertical ones; an O represented by a perfect circle strikes us as shapeless and has a disturbing effect on the word as a whole.” 2

2 Alexander S. Lawson, Anatomy of a Typeface (Boston: D.R. Godine, 1990), 304.


8 | Univers 1957

Univers “Z” and “T” overlapped to show subtle weight differences in Frutiger’s well considered modular system.

OO O C The Univers “O” (top left) in comparison with the Univers “C” (bottom) display the same optical sizing while the “C” is physically shorter.

When the Univers “O” is distorted to a “C” of the same size (top right), it appears to be larger than the “O” character.

Characteristics of the Typeface To achieve the goal of an expansive, integrated type family, designers must be sensitive to the nuances of each letterform while simultaneously considering the overall system. In the case of Univers, this sophisticated approach to type-family design is supported by a strictly modular and well considered set of typographical characters.


Universal Typography | 9

SSSS Gill Sans

Frutiger

Futura

Univers

Univers was designed with a expansive family of fonts in mind, which accounts for its modular and strictly horizontal treatment of terminals. This treatment is consistent through all of the Univers font family and differs from many sans serifs of the time.

Careful optical adjustments were made based on the current knowledge of the principles of perception to maintain the integrity of each letterform. The c is smaller than the o because in open letters the white space achieves greater penetration into the form, thereby appearing larger.


Frutiger’s decision to use different stroke thicknesses for the horizontal, diagonals, and verticals was a response to his assessment of visual discrepancies in other typefaces.

Frutiger’s decision to use different s troke thicknesses for the horizontal, diagonals, and verticals was a response to his assessment of visual discrepancies in other typefaces.

Univers (left) compared with Minion Pro (right) at 9pt to show readability of body text

Frutiger’s decision to use different stroke thicknesses Frutiger’s decision to use different stroke thicknesses

Frutiger’s Frutiger’s Frutiger’s decision to use different stroke thicknesses for the horizontal, diagonals, and verticals was a response to his assessment of visual discrepancies in other typefaces. It is also no coincidence that Frutiger’s interest in creating a functional and efficient type family followed welldocumented scientific research done in the 1930s and ‘40s on the mechanics of eye movement during reading.3

Univers (top) compared with Minion Pro (bottom) at 13pt to show readibility of the line

Univers (left) compared with Minion Pro (right) at 35pt to show readibility of the word

While Frutiger’s goal was to make letters that fit together so flawlessly that the assemblage formed a new satisfying gestalt, he also deemed it important that individual letterforms remain distinct from one another. “Built up from a geometric basis, the lines must play freely,” Frutiger wrote, “so that the individuals and their own expression and join together in a cohesive structure in word, line, and page.”

3 Jennifer Gibson. Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces (New York: RC Publications), 171.


jj Minion Pro

Minion Pro

Univers 55

Univers 55

Universal Typography | 11

Minion Pro compared with Univers at 400pt; the descender in Univers is shortened in comparison to Minion Pro

Ascenders and descenders were shortened in comparison with existing typographic norms.

Minion Pro compared with Univers at 400pt; the ascender in Univers is also shortened in comparison to Minion Pro


12 | Univers 1957

55555 55555 Univers

Univers displays consistent horizontal terminals across characters and font faces

A close look and the strokes of Helvetica (top), Gill Sans (middle) and Univers (bottom) show the differences in how strokes meet and the shapes created at this junction.

Gill Sans

ee e Univers

Gill Sans

Gill Sans uses a vertical system of terminals across that does not translate as clearly and uniformly in all font faces

Minion Pro

The rectangular dot of Univers (left) compared to the traditional circular dot in Gill Sans (right)

Shown in 180pt, Univers has a larger x-height than Gill Sans and Minion Pro to increase readability in larger body text.

Larger x-heights also provided greater legibility, addressing the concern that sans-serif type was more difficult to read than serif type. All of these innovations contributed to the overall harmony among letters, allowing for a smooth line.4

4 Gibson, Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces, 173.


Universal Typography | 13

Bibliography Blackwell, Lewis. 20th-Century Type. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. (A&A: Z250.A2 B59 1998 and Vault) Kunz, Willi. Typography: Macro- and Microaesthetics. Sulgen: Verlag Niggli AG, 2000. (A&A: Z246 .K86 2000 and Vault) Carter, Sebastian. Twentieth Century Type Designers. Great Britain: Lund Humphries, 2002. (A&A: Z250 A2 C364 1995 and Vault)

Revival of the Fittest: Digital Versions of Classic Typefaces, essays by Carolyn Annand [et al.]; edited by Philip B. Meggs and Roy McKelvey, New York: RC Publications, 2000. (A&A: Z250.R45 2000)

Colophon This book was designed by Amy Wang for Typography I, Spring of 2017. The text is set in DIN, by D. Stemple AG (1923). Comparison fonts include Gill Sans by Eric Gill (1927), Futura by Paul Renner (1932), Frutiger by Adrian Frutiger (1976) and Minion Pro by Robert Slimbach (1990).


U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s U n i v e r s Univers Univers U n i v e r s U n i v e r s Univers Univers

3 9 4 9 5 9 4 7 4 7 5 7 5 7 4 5 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 3 6 7 6 7 6 5 6 5 6 3 6 3 7 5 7 5 73 73 8 5 8 5 93 93

U

Profile for wangam19

Universal Typography  

Universal Typography is a book introducing typography basics, specifically highlighting the typeface Univers, created by Adrian Frutiger in...

Universal Typography  

Universal Typography is a book introducing typography basics, specifically highlighting the typeface Univers, created by Adrian Frutiger in...

Profile for wangam19
Advertisement