Monotype releases first update to Avenir in 20 years, expanding to 150 global scripts and languages

Akira Kobayashi, who worked with Avenir’s original designer Adrian Frutiger on the font’s last iteration, tells us more about the vast project.

Date
28 January 2021
Reading Time
2 minute read

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Monotype has updated Avenir, one of the most prevalently used fonts in the world, for the first time in 20 years. The Avenir Next World font family has been expanded to support over 150 global scripts and languages and now features Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Vietnamese, Georgian, Armenian, and Thai, plus ten weights and two new styles, ExtraBold and Black.

Originally designed by Adrian Frutiger in 1988, it was updated by Frutiger and Monotype’s creative type director Akira Kobayashi in 2002 to modernise it in line with demands in print and digital design. Frutiger passed away in 2015, so this time Kobayashi led the project. Due to Frutiger’s absence, “I felt my task as a supervisor of the expansion project was enormous,” he tells It’s Nice That. “But our worldwide network of designers who are real experts in their local script helped us to accomplish this.”

The foundry set out on the update to enable users of the font to “reach many parts of the world and a broader audience,” he adds. Start to finish, the project took the Monotype Studio a year to complete, working with international type designers Yanek Iontef, Nadine Chahine, Toshi Omagari, Akaki Razmadze, Elena Papassissa and Anuthin Wongsunkakon on each of the new scripts.

Yanek Iontef, who led development on the Hebrew character set, says that “a Hebrew geometric model that is as classic as Avenir simply doesn’t exist. This is why in some cases the geometry was overridden by subtle humanistic touch, for example in Zayin, and Gimel. On the contrary, geometry suggested that letters like Men and Tet become especially wide. It was always about finding the sweet spot that makes the proportions, weight, and texture as close as possible, without overriding any unwritten rule that would make the Hebrew look unnatural, or ‘Latinised’.”

In a previous interview with Linotype, Frutiger said on the origins of Avenir that he “felt an obligation to design a linear sans in the tradition of Erbar and Futura, but to also make use of the experience and stylistic developments of the 20th Century”. Kobayashi says the updated font will “work well for products and brands with a clean and open image. Its letterforms are designed extremely carefully so they do not distract the reader’s attention away from the text”.

Avenir Next World is available through Monotype Fonts.

GalleryMonotype: Avenir Next World (Copyright © Monotype, 2021)

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Monotype: Avenir Next World (Copyright © Monotype, 2021)

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Jenny Brewer

After five years as It’s Nice That’s news editor, Jenny became online editor in June 2021, now overseeing the website’s daily editorial output. Contact her with stories, pitches and tips relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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