, born in Marseille in 1910, became art director at Air France
in 1956. While working on a new logo and advertising poster for the airline, he experimented with a very wide, bold sans-serif typeface, which he christened “Nord”. His friend Marcel Olive
, for whose type foundry Excoffon
had already designed several typefaces, liked the muscular headline font with its unusually large x-height.
A Roger Excoffon poster from 1965 with the Air France logo, set in Antique Olive Nord
Competitors Deberny & Peignot
(Univers) and Haas
(Helvetica) were having considerable success with their sans-serifs, and so Excoffon
decided to expand the Nord typeface into a family. Between 1962 und 1968, they created eleven fonts, each with corresponding italics, and called the result Antique Olive
, Antique being the French term for sans-serif.
The individuality of the Antique Olive characters distinguished the typeface from the constructed fonts Univers and Helvetica.