Adrian Frutiger Typefaces: The Complete Works

1985's picture

I was lucky enough to receive this book as gift from my family (good to have a brother in the business). It seems like a really valuable read. I'd like to recommend it to beginners because of the original drawings, which I found very revealing, but I imagine the price and the more technical aspects might be a bit much. Perhaps a good addition to a college library.

Cheers.

William Berkson's picture

I'm reading it right now, slowly working my way through it. To reduce the bite on my wallet, I got it used, 1/3 off.

A tremendous amount of work has gone into it, and it was obviously a labor of love for all those involved. It combines copious illustration and extensive interviews with Frutiger on each typeface, keyed to the illustrations. Though often enough I question Frutiger's theories, I am learning a lot and loving it.

I suspect you have to really be serious about type to enjoy this, but if you are it's a joy to read.

It has to be one of the best books on type design, ever.

jabez's picture

Wow, I didn't know about this book.

http://fontfeed.com/archives/birkhauser-publishes-the-complete-works-of-...

*Starts saving up*

russellm's picture

great looking book. I want it, but — why are used copies more expensive than new ones?


-=®=-

Bert Vanderveen's picture

I concur with the other posters: a great and impressive book. BUT there are minuses: spotty printing, too many typo’s, a few real mistakes. (But this may just the English-language edition…)

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

1985's picture

Good, glad other people have found it a pleasure. It is expensive but I've not found anything remotely similar in terms of depth. I am yet to find any errors but I'll take your word for it Bert, that is a shame.

My only hang up is the dust jacket!

nina's picture

Spotty printing? Errors? Wow. Mine (the German edition) seems great. But maybe I just haven't been looking close enough…
I agree with everybody that it is expensive (I was lucky to get mine at a 50% sale when a local bookshop closed down), but surely worth it – while it's always good to keep salt handy, there's indeed an amazing wealth to be learned here.

"My only hang up is the dust jacket!"
Agreed. In my world, a book of this format really shouldn't have a dust jacket, and if it does, it should at least be more robust.

1985's picture

Exactly, anything that one wishes to consult regularly is going to suffer for having a dust jacket. I feel bad when I take them off and abandon them. I hadn't noticed the spotty printing either. I really think it is worth the price. It is a textbook of sorts and I think I will return to it many times, and although it was a gift it would spread the cost effectively had I paid for it.

Anyone else receive any other interesting typographic books this year?

hrant's picture

> I’ve not found anything remotely similar in terms of depth.

What about Frutiger's own "Type, Sign, Symbol" of 1980?
Although it's twice the price of "Complete Works", used!
I was lucky to find a copy for real cheap a long time ago.
Actually Phan Nguyen pointed me to it. Damn shame
he's not around anymore.

> Anyone else receive any other interesting typographic books this year?

Not of the same caliber, but:
http://typophile.com/node/64668

hhp

William Berkson's picture

As far as depth, "Letters of Credit" is as good. So is Doyald Young's Fonts & Logos, though its focus is a bit different.

1985's picture

What about Frutiger’s own “Type, Sign, Symbol” of 1980?

Hrant, I'm only 24! No, I jest, I will look into it. Thanks.

William Berkson's picture

Some of the illustrations from Type, Sign, Symbol are also in The Complete Works. I don't know how big the overlap is, but if Type Sign Symbol is more expensive, I would go for the new one.

.00's picture

I've had a copy of "Type, Sign and Symbol" since it was first published. Everything that is important to a type designer is in the new Complete Works.

dezcom's picture

It is easy to confuse value as published price with collectors item price. “Type, Sign, Symbol” is more expensive do to collectabillity.

The Frutiger "Complete works" is a great book and may some day become a collectors item.

ChrisL

hrant's picture

I'm wondering, is there much in "Type, Sign, Symbol" that's not in "Complete Works"?

hhp

William Berkson's picture

I'm up to the chapter on Frutiger, the typeface. Some gossip the type-crazed might be interested in:

Frutiger was the third version of the same typeface idea.

The first Concorde, never produced, came from a "whiskey sketch". When things got too hectic there was a bottle of whiskey that everyone would turn to to loosen up. After such a session, Frutiger drew the top terminal of a 'c', and explained to André Gürtler how the idea could be expanded into a typeface, and Gürtler writes "something wonderful happened, an energetic current ran through me." Frutiger gives Gürtler credit as a co-creator on Concorde.

The second was Roissy, which Frutiger simplified and adjusted the weight of, as it was for airport signage. When Mike Parker saw it, he immediately saw that it would make a great face for print.

Frutiger was so busy that he had Hans-Jürg Hunziker draw it. Frutiger says that Hunziker, who had spent four years at Merganthaler Linotype in Brooklyn, is "an unbelievably good draughtsman." He gives credit to Hunziker for the "high contrast terminals ...closer to an antiqua." These really give a shimmering beauty to Frutiger in large sizes, and though Frutiger only credits himself on this one, I'm glad that Hunziker's role is acknowledged, as I've long admired those special terminals.

Mike Parker named it "Frutiger" because he thought it would be more difficult to pirate if it had someone's proper name. In retrospect, ha ha ha!

Here's Frutiger on Myriad, which has been often discussed here on Typophile. Frutiger thought, "My typeface has gained a little cousin--and it's not badly done either." A fellow from Linotype then sent Frutiger side by side comparison, and then Frutiger was a bit miffed that Adobe had done such a similar typeface, because Adobe had just been digitizing Linotype's faces. But later he returned to his initial reaction: "Why shouldn't a good typeface be developed further by a third party? When I see today that someone has taken my thoughts and developed them further, I'm even proud of that."

The comments on Frutiger Next are revealing in that Frutiger basically rips it. He thinks that it is more appropriate for the face to have a sloped roman, not italic characters. And he doesn't think the interpolated weights look as good as the original drawn ones.

Not in this book is the new Neue Frutiger, which I imagine he is very happy with. Here he worked with Akira Kobayashi to correct the distortions due to the Linotype phototype restrictions to 18 widths, as explained last summer by Kobayashi in a lovely talk at TypeCon. And the sloped roman is back, as are the original proportions. I hope the issues of interpolation are also addressed, though I don't know.

At any rate, I think it's great that he had a fourth bite at this apple, as he confesses it's his favorite of his typefaces: "It's probably the typeface that holds the middle ground of the type landscape. It's like a nail that's been driven, and on which you can hang everything. ...as typeface that really is beautiful, one that sings."

Happy New Year Mr. Frutiger!

nina's picture

Nice summary William, thanks!

Frutiger says that Hunziker… is “an unbelievably good draughtsman.”

I can attest to that, a little bit. I've studied with Mr. Hunziker, and have seen some of his original drawings plus seen him just quickly sketch out some tiny details… it's the kind of stuff that makes you look at your hand and wonder if you're of the same species. :-)

hrant's picture

> He thinks that it is more appropriate for the face
> to have a sloped roman, not italic characters.

This is surprising, refreshing and encouraging.

hhp

1985's picture

Adrian Frutiger is quite candid about Frutiger Next and also his opinions on italics/sloped roman. He is quite adamant that sloped roman is a more natural companion to a grotesque. He likes it to be the full 16° too!

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Which is a valid point for a geometric sans — but not for others sanses, I think.

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

1985's picture

Maybe!

John Hudson's picture

After such a session, Frutiger drew the top terminal of a ‘c’, and explained to André Gürtler how the idea could be expanded into a typeface....

Therein is a key insight into successful type design.

dezcom's picture

Drink and be merry for tomorrow it will become type :-)

ChrisL

1985's picture

If only! I drink and I drink…

William Berkson's picture

Somehow I think John was referring more to the fact that a successful type design needs to have its 'design DNA' show in every feature, like every cell in the body is determined by the same DNA.

If John was indeed praising whiskey, then I'd like to know which one will make me draw type as well as Frutiger :)

John Hudson's picture

Sorry for any confusion: I was not, on this occasion, referring to the whisky.

Bill: ...a successful type design needs to have its ’design DNA’ show in every feature...

That's not quite what I meant, although I suppose that is largely the result. I was referring to the process by which a decision made regarding the design of one feature of one letter has implications for other features in other letters. Understanding those implications and either applying them, moderating them or rejecting them -- it is not a deterministic process, after all -- seems in large part how I spend my days.

William Berkson's picture

I agree that the thousands of decisions one makes in carrying through a design idea to develop a typeface family are not determined. However, "success" in design means partly that in the end the decisions look natural and inevitable. That's what I meant by the DNA metaphor.

1985's picture

This book has been inspired me to draw again, good and large, with propelled led and fine pens, touching up in paint. For ages I have been trying to figure out how to draw different weights on the computer. Now I am just going to work by eye on paper and reaffirm the basic skills.

I am feeling very happy today for having worked on paper.

William Berkson's picture

By the way, one of the treasures in this book you might not expect are the logos that Frutiger has done over his career. They are really inspiring, being at the same time typographic, iconic, and visually very inventive.

I should add, since I've been mainly rhapsodizing about Frutiger, that in my eyes a lot of the typefaces are flops, and none of the serifs (so far, I'm 2/3 through the book) are on the level of the sans designs.

fredo's picture

Inspired by this thread I started searching for the book in second hand stores, but instead found BOKSTAVSGESTALTNING by Frutiger. Bokstav means letter and gestaltning is the same as the German Gestaltung which in this context would refer to design I assume. Published in Sweden 1967, 64 pages and could be (I'm still waiting for it) really interesting, although not as all-encompassing as the Complete works, obviously.

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