Medical advertisement for a Dompé Pharmaceutical (Milan) product appearing in the April 1955 issue of Bellezza d’Italia, the magazine published by Dompé for which Grignani was the art director. “I have attempted to escape from the geometrical and typographical straightjacket imposed by Swiss constructivism and the influence of Mondrian” (The Work of Franco Grignani by Alan Bartram, Typographica 1, June 1960).
Weird, because this ad dates back some eight years before Univers was officially a thing.
Uhoh, that must be a mistake. Grignani was doing Artrosil ads up into the 1960s, so this must be one of the later ones.
I checked with Kind Company and they agree their initially listed date was incorrect. They confirm now that the ad appeared in the April 1955 issue of Bellezza d’Italia.
So these numbers must have come from something other than Univers. The only thing I can think of is Walter Käch’s 1949 Lettering manual which shows a pair of designs very similar to Univers. Käch was a strong influence on Frutiger. I don’t think these exact numerals appear in the book, however. It’s a mystery!
For what it’s worth, here is a comparison with Univers 73 Extended Black (top) and Univers 75 Black (bottom), namely the digital version from Adobe. Grignani’s numerals are somewhere between the two, especially in regard to the counters of ‘6’ and ‘5’. The original Univers may have had some different details, but I’d be surprised if any Univers incarnation had such a skewed ‘7’.
Contributed by Stephen Coles
Contributed by Marshall Lorenzo