Sunday type: Spiekermann

Erik Spiekermann is the HighLander of type. He was no doubt present when Gutenberg got his finger stuck in one of his prototype presses; and he’s still here—his enthusiasm for all things type has not waned. Designer of numerous typefaces including the huge FF Meta family, ITC Officina, FF Unit and many others; “information designer”, author, winner of the Federal German Design Prize, and certified typomaniac, Spiekermann is…well, it’s difficult to sum him up in a sentence, so you decide.

If you have no idea who Erik Spiekermann is, then, well, I don’t know what to say—go stand in the corner. Alternatively, take a look at this video:

http://www.spike.com/video/2906180

I have never met the man, so I’d be interested in hearing from those who have.

Tomorrow we have the second instalment of Alec Julien’s hugely popular So you Want to Create a Font. That article has been viewed almost 40,000 times thus far. To ensure you never miss out, Subscribe to I Love Typography, and feel the love that only type can bring.

A big thank you to everyone who has read and commented and sent me emails. Another big thank you to Ebsen who is working tirelessly on the iLT Wiki—he’s a true type trooper. More news on the Type Wiki soon; and to Hamish who’s putting his programming skills to work on a new and much improved Fontometer.

If you can read German, you might want to head over to the FontBlog where iLT is mentioned for it’s recent review of Made With FontFont. And it looks as though they are considering offering a money-back guarantee on the book! Though with my 12 words of German, I could be mistaken.

And finally, lots of people mailed me to ask if they could have a high-res version of a photo I used in the Made With FontFont article, for use as a Desktop Wallpaper. So here it is:


  1. Are you sure FF DIN was designed by Spiekermann? Fontshop as well as myfonts state Albert-Jan Pool and Achaz Reuss to be the designers. That’s also what I have always been told.

    Regards,
    Henning

  2. Henning
    Yes, you’re right of course. That’s what happens when I write late at night. I meant to write DIN Mittelschrift, which was actually redesigned at Spiekermann’s behest (after a meeting between Albert-Jan Pool and Spiekermann; and not redesigned by Spiekermann himself). I was going to mention this in an earlier draft. Of course no-one knows who created the original DIN.

    Some nice work on your site, BTW.
    Thanks.

  3. What Spiekermann says during that lecture is absolutely true: We love to procrastinate. I am supposed to finish a project and what do I do? Watch this movie. Although it was very interesting.

    It kind of makes me sad that the Deutsche Bahn hasn’t yet adopted the new timetables: The old ones are absolutely horrible.

  4. dk

    @Johno: By the way, you’re absolutely right with your »12 words of German«. Jürgen – the fontblog author – writes, that your remark motivated him to make that offer. Furthermore he mentions that he does that without consulting his colleagues from FontShop. It seems that slowly but surely iLT is becoming an economic factor. Maybe instead of giving away books in drawings you should just bend their market prices by virtue of your blog entries.

  5. Andrew

    I’ve met Spiekermann. He and his wife very kindly led me and several friends on a walking tour of his Berlin neighborhood as part of a design workshop I organized. It wasn’t type-oriented at all, but it was a very pleasant and interesting stroll. He was extremely genial and talkative, and considering he knew only one of us, and only through his wife, he was awfully gracious to give us the tour.

  6. Squawk
    Apologies for fuelling your procrastination ;) Good luck with your project. Do you know why they have yet to adopt it?

    dk
    Thanks for the translation.
    “…bend their market prices by virtue of your blog entries.” I like the sound of that.

    Andrew
    So he’s a tour guide too! I should have added that to by introduction ;) Thanks for the insight. “Talkative” seems to crop up a lot, in conversations about Spiekermann.

  7. Reggy

    Great video Johno. He’s a really charming and funny guy. I felt well and truly “typed-up” after watching that. Cheers for sharing.

  8. BK

    I love this video… this guy is genius !

  9. Reggy and BK

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. He certainly is inspiring.

  10. It was really nice to watch this video. I learnt a lot. I like the way Erik talk about typography. And the font for Deutsche Bahn is a masterpiece.

    I didn’t like Ellen’s presentation. She talked very slowly. I know it is a bit lame but it is hard for me to listen to people like Ellen. My brain gots borred quickly.

  11. Oh I’ve met Spiekermann…he’s brilliant…but it was very embarrassing….

  12. Paul
    I’m pleased you enjoyed it. Yes, it is a pleasure to hear him speak.

    Richard
    Oh boy! That’s a story you’re going to be recounting to your grandchildren—a classic. Thanks for sharing that. BTW, your site was one of the inspirations behind the creation of iLT.

    I strongly suggest that everyone read of Richard’s encounter with Erik Spiekermann.

    I do hope that my first encounter with Spiekermann is whilst standing at a urinal.

  13. If you can read German, you might want to head over to the FontBlog … it looks as though they are considering offering a money-back guarantee on the book!

    You are correct, but you can send back everything what you ordered online (or via phone) in Germany — even if you just don’t like it, you don’t need to state your reason. That is part of the german “online and telephone sales law” (called Fernabgabegesetz). Just don’t remember if you have 2 or 3 weeks time to send it back.

  14. Great video. These sessions are awesome! Keep posting up some for a nice Sunday watch.

  15. Spiekermann is the man. ;)

  16. TypoJunkie

    I’ve been to a couple of Spiekermann’s lectures, and yes, he’s a great guy.

    Spiekermann: Hi, I’m Erik Spiekermann and I’d like to welcome…
    Random guy: Excuse me, could you speak louder please?
    Spiekermann: Louder??!! I’m already speaking at 72 pt.

    Proving, by the laughter in the auditorium, that we’re all geeks (but we love it).

    I just saw him on the street in Clerkenwell (London) a few days ago and proudly froze up… I couldn’t even say hi… Better luck next time!

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