Open main menu

Erik Spiekermann (born 30 May 1947 in Stadthagen, Lower Saxony) is a German typographer, designer and writer. He is an honorary professor at the University of the Arts Bremen and ArtCenter College of Design.

Erik Spiekermann
MK12290 BeyondTellerand Erik Spiekermann.jpg
Spiekermann in 2014
Born1947 (age 71–72)
Occupationtypographer, designer and writer



Spiekermann studied art history at Berlin's Free University, funding himself by running a letterpress printing press in the basement of his house.[1]

Between 1972 and 1979, he worked as a freelance graphic designer in London before returning to Berlin and founding MetaDesign with two partners.

In 1989, he and his then-wife Joan Spiekermann started FontShop, the first mail-order distributor for digital fonts. FontShop International followed and now publishes the FontFont range of typefaces. MetaDesign combined clean, teutonic-looking information design and complex corporate design systems for clients like BVG (Berlin Transit), Düsseldorf Airport, Audi, Volkswagen and Heidelberg Printing, amongst others.

In 2001, Spiekermann left MetaDesign over policy disagreements and started United Designers Network, with offices in Berlin, London, and San Francisco.

In April 2006, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena awarded Spiekermann an Honorary Doctorship for his contribution to design.[2] His family of typefaces for Deutsche Bahn (German Railways), designed with Christian Schwartz, received a Gold Medal at the German Federal Design Prize in 2006, the highest such award in Germany.[2] In May 2007 he was the first designer to be elected into the European Design Awards Hall of Fame.[3]

In January 2007, UDN was renamed SpiekermannPartners. In January 2009 SpiekermannPartners merged with Dutch design agency Eden Design & Communication and continued its operations under the name Edenspiekermann .[4] Edenspiekermann currently run offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Singapore, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Spiekermann is considered a very influential personality in the field of typeface design and information design.[5] He often attends international meetings, and has been giving a substantial contribution in several fields, such as app development and public wayfinding.[6][7][8]


On 18 August 2017, Spiekermann replied to a tweet in which author Laura Kalbag announced having written a new book to be released by Jeffrey Zeldman's A Book Apart publishing company. Spiekermann replied: "Actually, you wrote a text. It took a few other people & skills to make that into a book."[9] Over the next 24 hours, several prominent figures in the design and tech industries — as well as authors J.K. Rowling[10] and Roxane Gay[11] — stepped forward to criticise Spiekermann's behaviour and show their support for Kalbag.

Notable worksEdit

Specimens of typefaces by Erik Spiekermann

Spiekermann has designed many commercial typefaces as well as typefaces as part of corporate design programmes.[12][13]

Spiekermann co-authored Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works. He also participated in the creation of numerous corporate identities and other works, including redesigns of the publications The Economist and Reason.[16]

Spiekermann also appeared in the documentary Helvetica.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2009-08-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b "Erik Spiekermann". EDAwards. 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-06-26. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  3. ^ "Identifont - Erik Spiekermann".
  4. ^ Official press release Archived 2008-12-21 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Erik Spiekermann". European Design Awards. 2006. Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
  6. ^ UrbanAge (15 January 2013). "Urban Age Electric City: Erik Spiekermann - Mapping and designing urban systems" – via YouTube.
  7. ^ "City of Amsterdam – Edenspiekermann".
  8. ^ "Info Connectivity System – Edenspiekermann".
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2017-08-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ J.K. Rowling [@jk_rowling] (19 August 2017). "@laurakalbag @espiekermann @zeldman Congratulations on writing your first book, Laura. Other people edited, copyedi…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ roxane gay [@rgay] (19 August 2017). "@laurakalbag You absolutely wrote a book. And congratulations on the accomplishment" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Erik Spiekermann « MyFonts".
  13. ^ "FontShop". FontShop.
  14. ^ "Nokia sans character - Spiekerblog".
  15. ^ "Fira Sans".
  16. ^ Fost, Dan (November 14, 2001). "Wired founder helps Reason". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2011-02-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Further readingEdit

  • Erik Spiekermann, E. M. Ginger: Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, third edition, Adobe Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0321934284
  • Erik Spiekermann: ÜberSchrift, Hermann Schmidt Mainz, 2004, ISBN 3-87439-661-4
  • Erik Spiekermann, Jan Middendorp, Made with FontFont, BIS Publishers, 2006, ISBN 90-6369-129-7
  • Erik Spiekermann et al., FontBook, FontShop International Berlin, 2006
  • Fay Sweet: MetaDesign: Design from the Word Up, Thames and Hudson, 1999. ISBN 0-500-01963-0
  • Erik Spiekermann, M. Klein, Y. Schwemmer-Scheddin: Type and Typographers, Phaidon Press, 1991. ISBN 1-85454-848-4
  • Emigre 51: First Things First, 1999. Issue 51
  • Erler, J., Hello I am Erik. Erik Spiekermann : typographer, designer, entrepreneur, Die Gestalten Verlag, 2014. ISBN 978-3-89955-519-6

External linksEdit