One of my favorite escapades recently is to uncover the mystery behind some of the most well used fonts for Apple and Microsoft so that i can develop better UI for my programs.
Frutiger is a sans-serif typeface by the Swiss type designer Adrian Frutiger. It was commissioned in 1968 by the newly built Charles De Gaulle International Airport at Roissy, France, which needed a new directional sign system. Instead of using one of his previously designed typefaces like Univers, Frutiger chose to design a new one. The new typeface, originally called Roissy, was completed in 1975 and installed at the airport the same year.
Frutiger's goal was to create a sans serif typeface with the rationality and cleanliness of Univers, but with the organic and proportional aspects of Gill Sans. The result is that Frutiger is a distinctive and legible typeface. The letter properties were suited to the needs of Charles De Gaulle – modern appearance and legibility at various angles, sizes, and distances. Ascenders and descenders are very prominent, and apertures are wide to easily distinguish letters from each other.The Frutiger family was released publicly in 1976, by the Stempel type foundry in conjunction with Linotype. Frutiger's simple and legible, yet warm and casual character has made it popular today in advertising and small print.
A workaround for those who like this font is that you can get this font for free. Apparently,Frutiger is released as one of the reading fonts for Microsoft Reader (version 2.1). Thus this presents an easy opportunity to get and sample this font for free.
Just install the reader and you can find it in your control panel > font control.
[Get Frutiger from Microsoft Reader here]