In 1968, Adrian Frutiger was commissioned to develop a sign and directional system for the new Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Though everyone thought he would want to use his successful Univers font family, Frutiger decided instead to make a new sans serif typeface that would be suitable for the specific legibility requirements of airport signage: easy recognition from the distances and angles of driving and walking. The resulting font was in accord with the modern architecture of the airport.
In 1976, he expanded and completed the family for D. Stempel AG in conjunction with Linotype, and it was named Frutiger.
The Frutiger family is neither strictly geometric nor humanistic in construction; its forms are designed so that each individual character is quickly and easily recognized. Such distinctness makes it good for signage and display work. Although it was originally intended for the large scale of an airport, the full family has a warmth and subtlety that have, in recent years, made it popular for the smaller scale of body text in magazines and booklets.