Univers, designed in 1957 by Adrian Frutiger for Charles Peignot (namesake of Peignot by A.M. Cassandre) at Deberny Peignot, was one of a handful of great twentieth century sans serifs, including Futura, Akzidenz and Helvetica.
Frutiger imposed strict discipline across all elements of the series, from light to dark, extra condensed to extended that was possible in the foundry type and photocomposition fonts. Any version may be mixed within a word with any other. Univers was one of the first typeface families to address the requisite that a typeface should constitute a family of related designs.
Earlier sans-serif designs such as Gill Sans had much greater differences between weights, while loose families such as ATF’s Franklin Gothic family often were promoted under different names for each style, to emphasise that they were not completely matching. Univers allowed documents to be created in one consistent typeface for all text. Univers was the epitome of the Swiss Typographic Style. The most common specimen sheet, distributed throughout Euorpe and the United States, was this one, which included a grid of weights similar, in a way, to the periodic table. It continues to evoke the mid-century corporate modern aesthetic