Adrian Frutiger was born in 1928 at Unterseen near Interlaken, Switzerland. After an apprenticeship as a compositor, he continued his training in type and graphics at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts (Kunstgewerbeschule) from 1949 to 1951, being taught by two renowned professors, Alfred Willimann and Walter Käch.
Frutiger went to Paris in 1952 and worked as typeface designer and artistic manager at Deberny & Peignot. His first typeface creations were Phoebus (1953), Ondine (1954) and Meridien (1955), through the foundry’s connections with Photon/Lumitype, Frutiger created some of the earliest typefaces for photocomposition.
He established his international position as a typeface designer with his Univers sans-serif font, produced for metal and film in 1957. Together with Bruno Pfäffli and André Gürtler, he founded his own studio in Arcueil near Paris in 1961. He was also Professor for ten years at the Ecole Estienne and eight years at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
In addition to his typeface design, Frutiger has been a consultant to IBM and the Stempel typefoundry. He produced the typeface for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport during the early 1970s and Linotype subsequently released this in 1977 as the Frutiger typeface.
He has received several awards and honours: 1986, the Gutenberg Prize of the City of Mainz (Germany); 1987, Medal of the Type Directors Club of New York; 1993, Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Paris); 1993, Grand Prix National des Arts Graphiques (France).
In 2008 Frutiger collaborated on a reworked version of Meridien, which was released by Linotype as Frutiger Serif in honour of his 80th birthday.