Erik Spiekermann

Imitated, copied, ripped off: type design today or whatever happened to the Code Morale

Erik will speak in his inimitably humourous style, but with serious content, showing examples of how the same data has reappeared under a different name, how the same name has been used for different data and how some data under the same name bears no resemblance to the original. He will not attribute blame, but will suggest alternative policies for safeguarding both the designers' and the publishers' interest, but most of all: to serve the user, the type-buying public.

Erik Spiekermann (born in 1947) calls himself typographic designer as well as type designer. He financed his studies in Art History at Berlin's Free University by running a printing press and setting metal type in the basement of his house. After having spent seven years as a freelance designer in London, he returned to Berlin in 1979, where – together with two partners – he founded MetaDesign, the largest design firm in Germany. MetaDesign San Francisco opened in 1992 and MetaDesign London started in 1995. Worldwide clients range from Adobe, Apple, Audi, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Nike to Texas Instruments and Volkswagen. MetaDesign specialise in complex, often large, corporate design programs and information systems,
including new media, online and offline; all with strong emphasis on typography.

In 1989, Erik founded FontShop International, publishers of the FontFont library, including one of his own designs, FF Meta, which has become one of the most popular typefaces in the USA and Europe. One of his other typefaces, ITC Officina, seems to be on every other web page these days and FF Info, his latest effort, has been chosen for the wayfinding system of a major European airport. He started typedesign by redrawing old hot metal faces from the Berthold library, back inthe 70s: LoType and Berliner Grotesk.

Erik has written numerous articles and four books about type and typography, which have appeared both in Europe and in the USA, including Stop Stealing Sheep for Adobe Press.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of ATypI, member of the Type Directors Club New York, The Art Directors Club, Honorary Member of the Typographic Circle London, D&AD, Fellow of the Society of Typographic Designers UK, Vice-President of the German Design Council, President of the International Institute of Information Design IIID, and many more. He holds a Professorship at the Academy of Arts in Bremen and teaches workshops at design schools across the world. His entertaining lectures and often controversial participation in judging competitions have gained him international reputation as one of Germany's leading communication designers.

Erik's work has been credited as offering a blend of Teutonic efficiency and Anglo-Saxon sense of humour.