SOME CHALLENGES FOR TYPE DESIGNERS. Today’s New York Times has an obituary for the great type designer Adrian Frutiger, who died on September 10. Margalit Fox, the author of the obituary, provides some helpful explanations of the challenges facing a type designer. One basic problem is that letters in general are hard to tell apart. Fox gives the example of the struggle we have to distinguish letters on an eye chart. She then points out that a type face which is suitable for reading a book will not be suitable for a driver trying to read a sign while going at a high rate of speed. Fox gives the example that: “For designers of sans serif fonts, the gold standard is to make a far-off ‘Illinois’ instantly readable.”
One of Frutiger’s creations is called “Frutiger”, which is “a sans serif font designed to be legible at many paces, and from many angles”. You have seen it at airports, including JFK and Charles De Gaulle.