Font Focus - Avenir


If you've seen any Apple or Starbucks ad, or even the style of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters of WWII, you've seen Avenir. The French word for "Future," Avenir is a font family developed in 1988 as a 21st century remake of the classic Futura typefaces from the 1920s - probably my favorite era in typography. It's based on Swiss style as a geometric sans serif- but designed to look far more human and easier to read than most other similar fonts (Learn more here). This is one of my personal favorite fonts of all times. It's professional with a hint of fun. I most often use it as a body, but it works well as a title font too.

In fact, about a year ago, I gave up the use of Helvetica altogether because of Avenir. It feels modern, human, and less like the product of a cold, unfriendly machine (which about sums up my feelings for Helvetica).

In 2004, Avenir creator Adrian Frutiger created a sister font, Avenir Next, which is designed for increased readability on screens.

Of course, the man who can really speak to its design and purpose is the font creator, Adrian Frutiger (Full Interview).

Today there is a new appreciation of the linear style of sans, in harmony with a softer and more subtle mode of expression. With increasing emphasis on pictures as the main element and the use of mixed background tints, the graphic designer wants a more refined sans serif typeface with less color, giving something of the effect of an inscription. The general replacement of the pen-nib by the ballpoint and the felt pen has also had an influence here. Constructivist typefaces such as Futura® and Gill have therefore come back into fashion, but most of the new faces in this style have been limited to display uses and are difficult to read in long texts.

Avenir™ is intended to be nothing more nor less than a clear and clean representation of modern typographical trends, giving the designer a typeface which is strictly modern and at the same time humane, ie suitable refined and elegant for use in texts of any length.