Erik Spiekermann

Berlin, San Francisco, London

Erik Spiekermann (*1947) is art historian, information architect, type designer and author. Two of his typefaces, FF Meta (the one on this page) and ITC Officina, are considered to be modern classics. He founded MetaDesign (1979) and FontShop (1988). He is behind the design of brands such as Audi, Bosch, VW, German Railways and Heidelberg Printing, among others; information systems for Berlin Transit and Düsseldorf Airport and for publications like The Economist. Erik designed exclusive typefaces for corporations like Deutsche Bahn, Bosch, ZDF (German TV), Cisco, Mozilla, Autodesk and many others.

Erik was Honorary Professor at the University of the Arts in Bremen and Professor for the Designing Systems class at the University of the Arts in Berlin until his retirement in 2013.

In ’03 he got the Gerrit Noordzij Award from the Royal Academy in The Hague. In ’06 he was awarded an honorary doctorship from Pasadena Art Center. He was made an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA in Britain in ’07 and Ambassador for the European Year of Creativity and Innovation by the European Union for ’09.

2011 he received the German National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement, the SoTA Typography Award, the TDC Medal and a Lifetime Award from the German Art Directors Club.

He has written books about type and typography, starting with »Rhyme & Reason, A Typographic Novel« which came out in 1987, after the original German version from 1982. His book »Stop Stealing Sheep & learn how to use type properly« was written for Adobe Press in 1993 and has been reprinted several times: 180,000 books were sold of the first two editions. A third edition came out at the end of 2013. It has also been translated into Polish, Russian, Portuguese and German.
Erik wrote 50 columns for Form, the German design magazine. Since 2008 he has had a column in Blueprint magazine. He has more than 332,000 followers on Twitter and is frequently asked to contribute to books and magazines on topics from visual language to bicycles.

Spiekermann was managing partner and creative director of Edenspiekermann with offices in Berlin, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Singapur and San Francisco until June 2014, when he moved from that position to the supervisory board. He now runs an experimental letterpress workshop in Berlin, galerie p98a.

A monograph about Spiekermann’s life and work »Hello, I am Erik« was published by Gestalten Verlag in 2014.