8 November 2012

Erik Spiekermann

by Patrick Baglee, New York Editor

Erik Spiekermann

If design is about the organization of information, then few can have organized quite as much or as well as POINT London speaker Erik Spiekermann. Erik’s work has had an impact on the way people read in print and on screen, helped them travel safely and smoothly through rail systems, cities and airports, and his type designs exemplify the principle that form follows function.

MetaDesign’s wayfinding system for Düsseldorf Airport

Spiekermann at the Bauhaus Archiv retrospective

Born in 1947, he was just 12 when he first fell in love with a typeface (Reklameschrift Block). He studied History of Art and English in Berlin, funding his studies by running a printing press from his basement.

A press in Spiekermann’s home/office set up

In 1979 Erik founded MetaDesign, a globally influential design practice that went on to open offices in Berlin, London and San Francisco and in 1998 he founded type production and distribution company FontShop. In 2001 he left MetaDesign and founded Edenspiekermann which now has offices in Berlin, London, Stuttgart and San Francisco and works with Bosch, Deutsche Bahn and ABN AMRO.

EdenSpiekermann’s Ableton website

He has been responsible for corporate design programs for Audi, Skoda, Volkswagen, Lexus and Heidelberg Printing and way-finding projects for Berlin Transit and Düsseldorf Airport.

Cover for Spiekermann’s Nokia typeface
FF Meta. “The Helvetica of the 90′s”

Erik’s type designs include FF Meta, ITC Officina, FF Info, FF Unit, LoType, Berliner Grotesk and corporate typefaces for Nokia, Cisco and German Railways. Erik has also been the recipient of numerous accolades. He was the subject of Erik Spiekermann, The Face of Type, a recent exhibition at the Bauhaus-Archive Museum of Design in Berlin and was made an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry in 2007 by the RSA in London.

Bauhaus Archiv retrospective

In 2009 he was appointed European Ambassador for Innovation and Creativity by the European Union and in 2011 the German Design Council gave him their Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest such award in Germany. He also has the enviable capacity to be funnier in his fourth language than most are in their first, and he currently lives and works between Berlin, London and San Francisco.