Erik Spiekermann confirmed a title of “architect of
information”. He is the author of such popular fonts
as FF Meta, ITC Officina Sans, LoType, FF Unit, Berliner Grotesk,
etc. He is also known for numerous books and articles on designs
and typography, written in an intelligible and simple language.
In 1979 Erik Spiekermann found MetaDesign studio and later
FontShop, which became a world-known company of digital font
development. He used to study history of art in Germany, simultaneously
running a company. Now he works as an independent consultant
on design problems. Linotype, Adobe and Apple are among his
ordinary clients. He owns design offices in Berlin, London
and San-Francisco, moving from one place to another. Erik
Spiekermann has an honorable title of Professor in the Bremen
Academy of Arts. Moreover he was a president of International
Society of Typographic Designers. In 2003 he was awarded with
a Prize for Typography in Netherlands.
Erik Spiekermann is recognized as a qualified specialist in
the sphere of design, logotypes and fonts. His books make
me think that he managed to find a simple form of expression
for serious topics. In this way even non-professionals can
easily read and understand his writings. In the first place
Erik Spiekermann is a talented designer who learnt to understand
and explain typographic language. Everybody wants to be competent
and skillful in using fonts, according to the style of writings.
The choice of right font isn’t an easy task if there
are a thousand of them. I highly recommend reading books of
Spiekermann [2, 4, 5] as they would be useful for those who
want to express their thoughts in a printed way. I want to
draw your attention to the most famous book of Spiekermann
“Stop Stealing Sheep”. It combines personal experience
of the author and practical pieces of advice for readers.
It is a sort of author’s diary on typography, that’s
why readers are unlikely to remain indifferent. Spiekermann’s
designs are penetrated with modernism. He admits that design
needs creative approach in the first place. One can’t
create an image following the instructions of experienced
designers. Skillful designer needs good taste and powerful
imagination. Spiekermann considers the main thing that sometimes
irritates a designer is lack of time. One has to think over
small details in order to make new font perfect. Readers of
Spiekermann’s books may learn more about modern typing
technologies and Internet fonts. It would be a nice illustrative
material and an exciting narrative about proper font usage.
The fact that his books became world bestsellers proves that
modern civilization can’t function without fonts. Even
labels and logotypes are of special genre. Each font corresponds
to certain period in history. Fonts can reflect different
aspects of our life and express different human emotions and
Fonts differ from each other in style, richness, declivity,
contrast and proportions. I want to demonstrate two fonts
designed by Erik Spiekermann which became recognized and widely
used in different spheres of modern life.
ITC Officina. It is a sort of font family of nearly 25 different
styles. It became a unique polygraph set with an electronic
Cyrillic version available. This font includes grotesque ITC
Officina Sans and brusque ITC Officina Serif. Now other outward
shapes of these fonts are being gradually developed. These
fonts may be used in magazines and journals. It would be right
to apply them in small articles easy for reading. The font
as a basis for information, often acquires quaint forms according
to the situation. Owing these style regenerations we are able
to define necessary information and sift out that of minor
importance. German designers managed to reform old stereotypes,
creating more and more fonts of different kind. Grotesque
Officina Sans for instance has little specific marks. It is
not so pretentious in comparison with many others. That’s
why it was originally intended for typing blanks and some
official documents. Nowadays however it is widely used everywhere.
It would be suitable either for poems or for short advertisements.
Berliner Grotesk is another sample of Spiekermann’s
works. This one is an old font style. It is supposed to be
used in advertisements or some short texts of this kind. It
would be especially appropriate in loud headlines. Its design
is characterized with “x-height, rough edges and short
descenders” [1, 7]. It’s quite natural that the
majority of people typing information on computer don’t
actually think about typing style. In fact a good font shouldn’t
be very noticeable as well as a good designer. Study of font
variety would help to understand it better. One may find much
useful information on typography and design. According to
style and shaping different fonts should be used in different
kinds of documentation. I must admit that Erik Spiekermann
made a significant contribution into this sphere.
In conclusion I’d like to say that we devour great amount
of information through television, computer network, printed
matter, journals, magazines, books, numerous signboards and
advertisements in the streets. We are surrounded by typography.
That’s why genuine works of Erik Spiekermann become
more and more important in everyday life of modern people.
1. DW-World. 2007. Top Designer Says World Cup Design “Just
2. E. Spiekerman, Å.Ì. Ginger. 2005. Stop Stealing
Sheep. ParaType Publishing House.
3. TYPO HOME. 2007. Fonts by Erik Spiekermann http://www.fontshop.de/typo98/enhanced/sprecher/d_spiekermann.html
4. Erik Spiekermann. 2005. Short Autobiography/CV http://www.spiekermann.com/mten/downloads/spiekerbio_de%2Ben_0107.pdf
5. E. Spiekermann, M. Klein, Y. Schwemmer-Scheddin. 1991.
Type and Typographes. Phaidon Press.
6. E. Spiekermann, J. Middendorp.2006. Made with FontFont.
7. PingMag - The Tokyo-based magazine about Design.2007. Erik
Spiekermann - typography and design today. Yes!Communications.
Risa Partners, Inc. http://www.pingmag.jp/2005/10/31/erik-spiekermann-typography-and-design-today/