In these letters Adrian Frutiger writes to Mike Parker (then Director of Typographic Development at LInotype) about Concorde, his sans serif from 1964, and the typeface that would soon become Frutiger. The letterhead plays off the uppercase alphabet of Serifa, Frutiger’s slab serif released in 1966.
The letters were shown by Matthew Carter in a Frutiger tribute speech he gave in New York on April 27, 2016. He paraphrases the first letter:
Mike had shown an interest in Concorde as a potential photocomposition face. Adrian writes thank Mike for his interest and to say,
“It’s not possible for me today to tell you my intentions for this face. In my imagination it all was a matter of making a sans serif typeface that was very neutral, a little in the vein of Gill, but with a less classical appearance. Concorde, as it is now, has become perhaps a little bit too impersonal, and I wonder if it would be enough to simply correct certain letters in order to give it a new allure.”
And it is the last sentence which I think is absolutely key here.
“Because, I have other ideas for sans serif faces.”
I think this is the first gleam in Adrian’s eye of a sans serif beyond Concorde — in other words, Frutiger.
One year later, 1971. “I send you here enclosed two first proofs of the alphabet Roissy. The relationship between Concorde and this new alphabet certainly exists in the general area. The Roissy realization is quite new and adequate to the legibility of architectural typography. Nevertheless it could be possible that this study could be interesting to the typographical area.”