German type designer and graphic designer par excellence, born in 1947 in Stadthagen. He set up MetaDesign in Berlin in 1979. In 1988 he set up FontShop, home of the FontFont collection. He holds an honorary professorship at the Academy of Arts in Bremen, is board member of ATypI and the German Design Council, and president of the ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers). In July 2000, Erik left MetaDesign Berlin. He now lives and works in Berlin, London and San Francisco, designing publications, complex design systems and more typefaces. He collaborated on the publication of the comprehensive FontBook. Author of Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works (2nd Edition) (Adobe Press, Second Edition, 2002, First Edition, 1993). He taught typography at the Art Academy in Bremen, and is guest-lecturer at several schools around the world.
In October 2003, he received the third Gerrit Noordzij Prize, which is given every other year to a designer who has played an important role in the field of type design and typography. It is an initiative of the postgraduate course in Type&Media at the Hague Royal Academy of Art with the Meermanno Museum (The Hague).
His essay on information design.
Biography. Bio at Linotype. Laudatio by John Walters of Eye Magazine. Blog.
Presentation at ATypI 2006 in Lisbon. Presentation at ATypI 2008 in St. Petersburg. Interviewed in 2006 by Rob Forbes. Speaker at ATypI 2010 in Dublin.
He made the following typefaces and type families:
- Lo-Type (1913, Louis Oppenheim) was digitally adapted by Spiekermann for Berthold in 1979-1980. BERTLib sells it as Adlon Serif ST.
- PT 55 (1986), the precursor of FF Meta.
- Berthold Block
- Berliner Grotesk (1979-1980, Berthold): based on an old Berthold AG typeface from 1923.
- FF Govan (2001, by Ole Schaefer and Erik Spiekermann).
- The huge families FF Meta1, FF Meta2, FF Meta3 (2003), FF Meta Condensed (1998) and FFMetaCorrespondence. The FF Meta families (1985) were originally designed for Bundespost, which did not use it--it stayed with Helvetica for a while and now uses Frutiger. Meta comes with CE, Cyrillic, Greek and Turkish sets as well. Weights like Meta Light (Thin, Hairline) Greek are available too. Spiekermann is a bit upset that Linotype's Textra (2002, a typeface by Jochen Schuss and Jörg Herz) looks like a cloned of Meta. FF Meta Condensed won an award at Modern Cyrillic 2014.
- Meta Serif (2007) by Christian Schwartz, Kris Sowersby and Erik Spiekermann. Later extensions by Ralph du Carrois and Botio Nikoltchev.
- ITC Officina in versions Sans Book (1989-1990) and Serif Book (1989-1990).
- Boehringer Sans and Antiqua (1996): custom types.
- Grid, which appeared in FUSE 3.
- Codesigner with Ole Schaefer (FontShop, 2000) of FF InfoDisplay and FF InfoText in 1997 and of FF InfoOffice in 2000.
- NokiaSans and NokiaSerif (2002, company identity family). This was in cooperation with Jelle Bosma. Before Nokia Sans and Serif, Nokia used Rotis. Nokia Sans and Serif were replaced by Nokia Pure (Bruno Maag) in 2011.
- Glasgow Type (1999), for the city of Glasgow, taking inspiration from the Rennie Macintosh types.
- Heidelberg Gothic (1999).
- Symantec Sans and Serif (2003): custom types.
- FF Unit (2003-2004; see also here), another sans family, which won an award at TDC2 2004. This was followed by FF Unit Rounded. And FF Unit Rounded started according to Erik as Gravis, the largest Apple dealer in Germany. FF Unit Slab (2009) is the product of a cooperation between Kris Sowersby, Christian Schwartz, and Erik Spiekermann.
- ITC Officina Display (2001).
- FF Meta Thin Light and Hairline (2003) and FF Meta Headline (2005). Developed jointly with Christian Schwartz and Josh Darden.
- Bosch Sans and Bosch Serif (2004).
- The SeatMeta family (2003) for Seat.
- DB Type in six styles (Serif, Sans, Head, Condensed, Compressed, News): designed in 2005 in collaboration with Christian Schwartz for the Deutsche Bahn (train system in Germany). Some typohiles say that it reminds them of Bell Gothic and Vesta.
- A Volkswagen company family based on a correction of Futura.
- The DWR House Numbers Series (2006): four fonts with numerals for house numbers: Contemporary House Numbers, Tech House Numbers, Classic House Numbers (based on Bodoni), Industrial House Numbers (stencil). DWR stands for Design Within Reach.
- Tech (2008, FontStruct), a rounded squarish headline face.
- Axel (2009): developed jointly with Erik van Blokland and Ralph du Carrois, it is a system font with these features:
- Similar letters and numbers are clearly distinguishable (l, i, I, 1, 7; 0, O; e, c #).
- Increased contrast between regular and bold.
- High legibility on the monitor via Clear Type support.
- Seems to outperform Courier New, Verdana, Lucida Sans, Georgia, Arial and Calibri, according to their tests (although I would rank Calibri at or above Axel for many criteria).
- In 2012-2013, Ralph du Carrois and Erik Spiekermann co-designed Fira Sans and Fira Mono for Firefox / Mozilla. This typeface is free for everyone. Google Web Font link. Open Font Library link. It is specially designed for small screens, and seems to do a good job at that. I am not a particular fan of a g with an aerodynamic wing and the bipolar l of Fira Mono, though. Mozilla download page. CTAN link. Google Web Fonts download page. Google web Fonts published Fira Sans Condensed (2012-2016) and Fira Sans Extra Condensed in 2017.
- In 2013-204, Erik created HWT Artz, a wood type published in digital form by P22, which is based on early 20th century European poster lettering. Named after Dave Artz, a Hamilton Manufacturing retiree and master type trimmer, the proceeds of the sales will go to the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum.
- In 2015, Fontfont published FF Real, in 13 weights each for FF Real Text and FF Real Head. This typeface family by Erik Spiekermann and Ralph Olivier du Carrois is influenced by the German grotesques from ca. 1900 by foundries such as Theinhardt and H. Berthold AG.
- In 2022, Erik Spiekermann, Anja Meiners, and Ralph du Carrois published the neo-grotesque superfamily Case at Fontwerk. It includes Micro and Text subfamilies.
Picture of Eric Spiekermann shot by Chris Lozos at Typo SF in 2012.
View Erik Spiekermann's typefaces.
Type designers ⦿
Type designers ⦿
Type design in Turkey ⦿
Eastern European fonts ⦿
Cyrillic type design ⦿
Type blogs ⦿
Type scene in California ⦿
German type scene ⦿
Type design in the United Kingdom ⦿
Modern style [Bodoni, Didot, Walbaum, Thorowgood, Computer Modern, etc.] ⦿
Monospaced fonts ⦿
Corporate typefaces ⦿
Books on type design ⦿
Wood Type ⦿