Avenir: Font of the Future

Samantha Warren, Former Viget

Article Category: #Design & Content

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When I asked Doug, the Viget Designer behind the typography on the Inspire Blog ,why he used Avenir he replied "because it is the greatest font ever". Doug is not the only one to have such an opinion of the geometric sans-serif typeface, in 2004 Avenir was named one of Typographica's favorite fonts. When Andy Budd asked Cameron Moll what fonts would he choose if he could only have 6 his first reaction was " Avenir, Avenir, Avenir. I’ve abused this typeface in both web and print work, and it’s held up to the abuse with flying colors.". image In French "avenir" means "future". This hidden definition makes it a perfect choice for the Viget Inspire Blog because web designers are innovators who are always looking to push the boundaries and limitations of their medium. Adrien Frutiger designed Avenir in 1988 and is best known for his typefaces Univers and Frutiger. Frutiger explained his reasoning for designing the San-Serif in an interview with Linotype:
"Looking back on more than 40 years of concern with sans serif typefaces, I felt an obligation to design a linear style of sans serif, in the tradition of Erbar™, Futura®, and to a lesser extent Gill Sans®. These have purely constructed characters from which the element of a handwriting movement has been removed. Obviously this could not be an outstanding new creation, but I have tried to make use of the experience and stylistic developments of the 20th century in order to work out an independent alphabet meeting modern typographical needs."
image Avenir has become very popular in web, print, identity, and environmental graphic design. As part of their national identity the Netherlands uses Avenir on their site amsterdam.nl as well as in signage and brochures about their country. You can find Avenir playing a key part in the branding systems of the Reuters and Dulles Fort Worth Airport. On the web a customized version of the font is used in the logo for Shutterfly and the book and medium weights on purevolume.com. Frutiger describes his typeface as "modern and at the same time humane" but I find Avenir to be an inspiration.

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