“Fonts and colours.” That is how I sometimes reply when people ask me what my job involves. It’s a simplification of the truth, of course. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to arriving at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport today for the Frutiger font alone.
The font is used across the airport’s signage and identity.
It was commissioned by bosses at the airport in 1968 and was introduced in 1975. It is a sans-serif typeface developed by Swiss type designer Adrian Frutiger.
Originally it was going to be called Roissy – as was the airport itself – but events overtook it. The death of the French president in 1970 led to the airport being renamed in his honour.
Frutiger was the house font in a company I worked for years ago as a news writer and features editor on a magazine about European affairs. That means I’ve seen it on the magazine and on other publications, a website and exhibition stands many times.
But I’ve never seen it used across a whole venue.
Charles de Gaulle airport is rather stylish in its design – its terminal one is in the shape of an octopus, for example. So it seems only fitting that it should have a font all of its own.