Monday, 8 November 2010


Born in 1947 in Germany, Spiekermann is a self confessed ‘typomaniac’, whose whole career and life has revolved around the art of typography. Over the years he has created many typefaces such as FF Meta, ITC Officina, FF info and many corporate typefaces. His style in contrast to Neville Brody could not be more different, taking a more structured and constrained approach to his typography work, focusing on creating typefaces that are traditional and as legible as possible, most often sans serif ones. He is an author of books and articles based around typography, his most prominent being ‘Stop Stealing Sheep & Find out How Type Works’.
In 1979 he started up the design firm MetaDesign, a ‘global branding and design firm’, that has worked with clients such as Adobe, Apple, Sony & Coca-Cola. It is the largest design firm in Germany, which has offices across the globe much like Brody’s Research Studio, buts it’s approach combines clean, teutonic-looking information design and complex design systems. Spiekermann left Meta in 2001 and started up Edenspiekermann although it has gone through various name changes since it’s birth.

Above: Type specimens of Erik Spiekermann Below: FF Meta, a humanist sans-serif typeface designed for the West German Post Office and 'dubiously' hailed by some as the 'Helvetica of the 1990's'

Spiekermann has won various awards for his contribution to typography and was the first person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame by the European Design Awards for Communication Design, which only goes to shows how highly regarded he is in the world of design.
In the Helvetica documentary film released in 2007, Spiekermann is interviewed amongst many other illustrious designers, and discusses not only the subject of Helvetica but his love of typography in general, and how he feels his typography should improve legibility without being noticed. His subtleness is his style, a style he feels should communicate to the public subconsciously. Also in the interview he vents his disapproval of Microsoft and it’s approach to typography, going as far as calling the company ‘despicable’ and ‘mean bastards’ for creating bad typefaces because ‘they can’t be bothered to pay the licence fees’ for good typefaces, although concluding that “Matthew did some cool stuff for them”, referring to highly respected typographer Matthew Carter, who has worked for Microsoft and is also interviewed in the documentary.

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