Hello, I am Erik – The German Letterman

Gestalten.tv interviews German typographer Erik Spiekermann who is rediscovering his love for letterpress after 30 years of designing fonts.

From the Series

You can almost smell the ink in this Gestalten.tv interview with German typographer Erik Spiekermann, set in his newly opened letterpress workshop P98A. After almost 30 years of working on screen, the renowned designer is exploring his nostalgia for the printing press.

“I’m going back to touching things,” says the self-confessed typomaniac, who is working on a visual auto-biography with book publisher Gestalten.

Spiekermann was the first designer to be elected into the European Design Awards Hall of Fame in 2007. He co-founded Berlin-based agency MetaDesign which specialised in information design for clients such as BVG (Berlin Transit), Audi and Volkswagen. He started FontShop, the first mail-order distributor for digital fonts, and FontShop International, which publishes the FontFont range of typefaces.

But he began his career as a typesetter, running a printing press in the basement of his house to fund his studies. At the age of 67, Spiekermann feels a certain obligation to ensure later generations know how to work with a printing press.

The physical constraints of working this way influence the design itself. “You don’t just hit a button – there is no “delete’ button… You have to touch everything, you have to plan a little more and whatever you do is fairly permanent,” he says.