While I was gone, Larry saved a couple of obituaries for me. My favorite was for a man I’d never heard of, Adrian Frutiger. If you’ve ever followed an airport sign at JFK or Charles deGaulle Airports, used the Paris Metro or the London Underground, you’ve seen his exceptionally readable Univers or Frutiger fonts.
Born in Switzerland, he developed more than 40 unique typefaces, including the one at the bottom of checks that can be read by both people and machines. He focused on making the type itself inconspicuous, and his innovation was the square dot over the i in signage fonts, which made it more readable at a distance.
Here’s a quote:
“The whole point with type is for you not to be aware it is there,” he said. “If you remember the shape of a spoon with which you just ate some soup, then the spoon had a poor shape.”
You can see his fonts here.
After dinner last night, Larry looked at a soup spoon and said: “This spoon makes me think of a shape of a spoon.” Having read the obituary first thing that morning, I didn’t get it–the reference flew over my head, and I looked at him puzzled. But now, of course, you get it.