The whole Univers

Will Stanford's picture

Hello everyone.

I am currently creating a book about the diverse usages of Univers. It is essentially a responce to the Lars Muller Hommage to Helvetica book with the aim of giving Univers its due as a true type great.

I am making good progress but am sure that i am still only scratching the surface, if anyone has any good examples of its use (pictures or details) I would love to be made aware of them.


gulliver's picture

One prominent use that springs immediately to mind:
Communication Arts has been using Univers for years.

David Thometz

Celeste's picture

Otl Aicher's identity system for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games is a quite famous example of Univers in use.

Antonio Cavedoni's picture

Will, if you can try to get your hands on Emil Ruder’s book Typography which is entirely set in Univers and shows how it can be used to good effect. In the PDF of Mark Simonson’s SOTA lecture on Adrian Frutiger you’ll find several samples of it, too.

Celeste's picture

Yes, Ruder was indeed one of the most prominent partisans of Univers when it was released.

Nick Shinn's picture

Friedrich Friedl gave The Univers due respect.

Will Stanford's picture

You are quite right Nick, unfortunately this was not sufficient to make it a houshold name with wider awareness of its artistic importance.

Thank you for your comments thus far everyone, they are realy helpful.

Does anyone know if it was used in any public information works such as public transport signs?

typofoto's picture

A variation of Univers condensed, called Traffic, was used as a signage typeface for Muenchen Airport. The design for the signage scheme was done by Otl Aicher and Eberhard Stauss to coincide with the olympic games (I think). It's been modernised by Wangler and Abele.

Chris Dean's picture

I have several images.

Contact me st

Nick Shinn's picture

Will, contact me, I have some nice old documents I can post you.

Will Stanford's picture

Once again a big thank you to everyone.

I am however still strugling to find some more day to day uses for univers, things we see around the home or on the street for exxample.

If anyone could help me with ideas for this it would be great.


Dan Gayle's picture

You won't find it in America, but apparently many of the Central European nations use Univers for everything that an American might use EDIT Helvetica for.

unfortunately this was not sufficient to make it a houshold name with wider awareness of its artistic importance.

Mike Parker of the Font Bureau, formerly of Linotype, would be a great person to contact, since he's apparently the person who made the decision in America to go with Helvetica over Univers for the Linotype. Or so he says :)

The fact that Helvetica was the cheaper typeface to license for the Linotype machine in America made the decision that effects us all today. Had Univers been cheaper, Parker would have decided to go with it because of its then obvious advantages of the number of styles. Helvetica at that point was only a few cuts compared to the family of 21 of Univers.

daniele capo's picture

I think that the redesign of the identity of Poste Italiane ( is based on Univers.
But in local postal offices Univers is traslated in Arial.

Will Stanford's picture

Thanks, I will look into it.


paulstonier's picture

Rochester Institute of Technology used Univers on all the signage for buildings and parking lots.

Will Stanford's picture

Thats great Paul. Thank you.

Can anyone think of any domestic products, tins of beans and the like, which use it?


umily's picture

Hi Will,
I'm pretty sure that some of the classic penguin jackets used Univers, those designed by Romek Marber... They might look cool in your book.

Will Stanford's picture

Thanks Umily. They would be a great addition, i will investigate them.


RG's picture

Late to add to the list of answers, but still...

- Apple PowerBook's keyboard
- London street sign
- Montréal Métro Signage (but they have recently changed to a humanist sans)

Chris Dean's picture

Mr. Univers

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