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San Francisco walks, 7.

SpiekerBlog (+)   25/04/2008

Today is the last day here in San Francisco for a few months. Just enough time left to go down to my favourite newspaper shop and get tuesday’s edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The coffee house opposite offers free internet, monday through (+)

San Francisco walks, 6.

SpiekerBlog (+)   25/04/2008

There are a lot of places in California named after saints. And since the Spanish missionaries were here well before any English-speaking Americans (or the Russians, who came down from Alaska and left their mark on place-names like Russian River), these (+)

San Francisco walks, 5.

SpiekerBlog (+)   25/04/2008

Today was a pink day. (+)

San Francisco walks, 4.

SpiekerBlog (+)   24/04/2008

One thing that never fails to amaze me on the streets in California are the classic European cars that are around – not in showrooms, but driving around or parked on the streets. Like this ca. 1969 Mercedes 280SE with a 4.5 l engine. Those cars were hard (+)

San Francisco walks, 3.

SpiekerBlog (+)   22/04/2008

Amongst the things threatened with extinction for a long time has been the apostrophe. Not a big loss for mankind probably, but too bad for the typographically educated amongst us. The apostrophe is neither a foot mark nor a sharp (as in acute) accent. I (+)

Gutenberg, the movie

SpiekerBlog (+)   19/04/2008

The BBC movie by Stephen Fry has finally arrived on YouTube. It was broadcast last week but is only available online in the UK. This is the link to the first part: (+)

San Francisco walks, 2.

SpiekerBlog (+)   19/04/2008

I always carry a camera, but the extremely sunny weather (and the sun is brighter here than anywhere in Northern Europe) makes it difficult to get some motives. It is, for example, almost impossible to photograph shop windows because there is so much re (+)

San Francisco walks, 1.

SpiekerBlog (+)   19/04/2008

In San Francisco I walk a lot. Some of the hills are too challenging for my simple road bike, taking the car out just to get to the newspaper shop is stupid, and I have never worked out how the bus system works here. I do, however, see people – usually o (+)

34th Williams A. Dwiggins Lecture

SpiekerBlog (+)   17/04/2008

It’s already a week ago that I held a lecture at the Boston Public Library. It was the 34th. William A. Dwiggins Lecture. As lectures go, it wasn’t all that special (apart from it being a great honour to be asked to speak in front of all those dignified (+)

San Francisco

SpiekerBlog (+)   16/04/2008

Not every city has a landmark, but San Francisco has more than its fair share of them. And I can see one of them from our window – if only the very tip of it.Last night on my way to the mailbox (April 15!) I took some photographs of the Transamerica buil (+)

Less is more

SpiekerBlog (+)   16/04/2008

This is my first post on my MacBook Air. The photo of the new computer on the kitchen table was shot with an iPhone. Not the best quality thinkable, but adequate for this type of message. I’m waiting for blogging software for the iPhone. The update to 2. (+)

Red is the Helvetica of colours

SpiekerBlog (+)   15/04/2008

Saw this in London recently. Not the best spelling, but a valid observation nonetheless. The construction fence it was sprayed on was painted solid red – more than anyone would need for warning purposes. (+)

Rub downs

SpiekerBlog (+)   14/04/2008

Can anyone remember Letraset and other dry-transfer type? A few years ago, I threw away hundreds of sheets of it, which I now regret. Younger designers might find this type of lettering funny, perhaps even informative. Technology has, after all, always i (+)


SpiekerBlog (+)   14/04/2008

I see many versions of the spelling of my name, which in German is quite ordinary. A phonetic equivalent like Speakerman is the most frequent one. Last week in Boston, however, the lady at reception may have wanted to make a statement. Or she simply coul (+)

Helvetica can be nice

SpiekerBlog (+)   14/04/2008

Every typeface needs its own layout that will make it look good and appropriate. An Italian producer of plastic furniture with a showroom in an old industrial building in San Francisco could do worse than displaying its name in large Helvetica letters. R (+)

News from SF

SpiekerBlog (+)   14/04/2008

I haven’t been to San Francisco since January, and I have not published anything on this blog since then. There is just too much going on in Berlin: the office has more than 30 people now, we have a new house, thousands of books that need sorting, a lot (+)

Unit Rounded

SpiekerBlog (+)   08/01/2008

Round typefaces keep going in and out of fashion, for many reasons. One of them always has been the media the face would be used for: type on screens and back-lit signs suffers from radiant light. Sharp type will look blunt, and the amount of bluntness t (+)

Royal Designer, 2.0

SpiekerBlog (+)   07/01/2008

I promised to show the real document that I was given when I was made an Honorary Royal Designer for Industry in November. Turns out that I over-promised. The scroll, handset in Caslon by Alan Kitchener and handprinted letterpress on handlaid paper, cann (+)

New Year’s Cleaning Up.

SpiekerBlog (+)   04/01/2008

While cleaning up my hard drive I found several videos that may not be totally up-to-date, but could be fairly amusing. As long as I haven’t figured out how to insert the html code for streaming full-size movies, I’ll just post small versions here. If an (+)

Typographic detail, handmade

SpiekerBlog (+)   03/01/2008

Applications like Indesign and fonts in Open Type format provide tools for making great stuff that older generations of typographically interested designers could have only dreamed about.As we all know and can witness every day, these tools, however, are (+)

Spanish impressions

SpiekerBlog (+)   02/01/2008

As the warning above says, I shall now and again publish whatever I feel like. Just found these images from my last trip to Zaragoza and Barcelona a few months ago. A 120-gig hard drive offers a lot of surprises...If you ever travelled through Spain, you (+)

New Euros, old system.

SpiekerBlog (+)   30/12/2007

Two countries will introduce the Euro as currency on January 1, 2008, Cyprus and Malta. The fronts of the coins look the same as that of all other countries, while national symbols are displayed on the back.This reminded me of the occasion when I got ask (+)

Dublin Type 2

SpiekerBlog (+)   28/12/2007

The art of writing or carving elaborate signs is all but dying out. Self-adhesive plots on vinyl have replaced the art of painting signs with drop-shadows in fantasy typefaces that didn’t come from the FontBook or any other “proper” source. Uncial type h (+)

Dublin Type 1

SpiekerBlog (+)   28/12/2007

Nobody can design a “classic”; whether a typeface ever becomes a classic will be decided by how it gets used over time. FF Meta has been around for almost 20 years now, and it’s still selling. While new generations of designers constantly rediscover what (+)

Spiekermann speaks

SpiekerBlog (+)   05/12/2007

If you can understand German, you may want to look at the interviews that my friend and colleague in Vienna, Markus Hanzer, filmed with me and my friend and colleague, Walter Bohatsch, when I was there recently for a (+)

Honorary Royal

SpiekerBlog (+)   01/12/2007

This would happen to me of all people: I’m not exactly in favour of monarchy, but i still didn’t object when I was made an Honorary Designer for Industry in London last week. Only Honorary, as the title of a full RDI is reserved for holders of a British (+)

You cannot not comment

SpiekerBlog (+)   29/11/2007

As I have learnt from several recent e-mails, the comment function for this blog is not active.That may have to with some plug-ins not being active after the upgrade to MT 4.0, or it could be just a bug – not unusual with upgraded software.We’ll be looki (+)

FF Meta 1.0

SpiekerBlog (+)   25/11/2007

As long ago as April I had made the mistake of announcing Meta Serif’s imminent release. It took much longer, of course, as the devil is in the details. Meanwhile, so many blogs have reported on it that all I have to do is point to them:FF Meta Serif on (+)

Yellow peril

SpiekerBlog (+)   25/11/2007

Paul Weihe is the person in our studio who does everything that no-one else does, i. e. quite a lot. Paul knows everything about printers, printer drivers, software licenses, the network. He is also our Barista and can draw company logos and pictures of (+)

Blackmail online

SpiekerBlog (+)   24/11/2007

If you quickly need to send someone a Ransome Note, no need for glue, scissors and old newspapers anymore. Just go to Joshua Rey’s Website and enter your text. It comes back, on yellow or on white, and all you have to do is print it out. Bingo. (+)

Viva España or what?

SpiekerBlog (+)   15/08/2007

Alexis from Spain just wrote to me about a competition the Spanish government ran to get a new logo. They just published the winning entry (out of 320) which was rewarded 12,000 euros. On the left you can see the new logo for the govenment of Spain. It (+)

Braun Apple

SpiekerBlog (+)   06/08/2007

Braun collectors like myself have known for a long time where some of the ideas came from that led to the perforated-aluminium-look of some Apple computers. I took a few photographs of my world receiver T1000 from 1962 (!). Radii and perforations look alm (+)

Science papers on the fly

SpiekerBlog (+)   02/07/2007

A commentator who calls himself Schorch sent me this link: It is a dummy text generator. This one, however, generates content, not just nonsensical strings of words. You enter author names, press the button, and – BIngo!– you have a science paper. I (+)

Dummy generators

SpiekerBlog (+)   01/07/2007

I see many layouts with boring and stupid dummy text of the kind Indesign generates automatically. I happen to dislike pseudo-latin copy – it is misleading and useless. There are alternatives. Michaels Sousa’s generates copy in several languages, w (+)

Save space!

SpiekerBlog (+)   28/06/2007

This typeface can save a lot of space because it ignores vowels when entering text. If at all needed, you can type a capital letter by using the shift key. That will insert one of the small capitals which also exist for vowels. You can download FF Mt fo (+)

Complete forgery

SpiekerBlog (+)   26/06/2007

For years I had imagined how cool our German Autobahn-signage could look if set in a better typeface than our boring, predictable, stiff old DIN. I never thought that one day I might actually iss that typeface. When I first got the numberplates for my NSU (+)

Information Design Woodstock

SpiekerBlog (+)   25/06/2007

Next month, communications professionals from all over the world will be “heading for the hills” - the beautiful hills of Austria. That’s where the information design action begins this summer. FIRST: The International Institute for Information Des (+)

Friedrichstrasse 126

SpiekerBlog (+)   16/06/2007

When SpiekermannPartners moved into a listed building in Berlin-Mitte last October, our landlords, Ullstein Publishers, let us use a photo of the building for the announcement. Monika Molin took our 256-colour motif to highlight the windows of the 3rd fl (+)

Another interview

SpiekerBlog (+)   08/06/2007

Here is an interview I gave to Eric Karjaluoto from ideasonideas. You can read it below. EK: Thanks for joining us today Erik. At smashLAB we’ve often admired your work. Needless to say, we’re happy that you are joining us for this little inter (+)

End of vacation

SpiekerBlog (+)   08/06/2007

After almost two weeks, my birthday vacations are over. The terrible weather has resulted in Tuscany looking incredibly green even this time of year. The main reason I do come back here every now and again are the cyprus trees, the typographical plants. T (+)

Work more efficiently

SpiekerBlog (+)   03/06/2007

Now and again, there’s something that solves a problem so effectively that we wonder how we ever managed to work without this solution. Gabriel Kornreich is a German-Argentinian designer in Barcelona. He designed Linea to make it easier to read your lap (+)

Birthday greetings

SpiekerBlog (+)   01/06/2007

I cannot possibly even start to share all the personal, original, funny, analog, digital greetings, postcards, phone-calls, text messages, letters and packages. Two of them have to be enough to show how ingenious my friends can be. Markus Hanzer remi (+)


SpiekerBlog (+)   28/05/2007

Some of my friends know this: I’ll be 60 on May 30th this year. To avoid military parades, public addresses and medals from the wrong institutions, I’ll be in Italy for that day and then some. Back in Berlin on June 9th. There will be a proper party, (+)

Helvetica 50

SpiekerBlog (+)   26/03/2007

On March 24, Lars Müller organised an event at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich as a birthday celebration. The typeface was born Neue Haas Grotesk and only got re-christened years later. (see wie-helvetica-zu-ihrem-namen-kam, in German only). It w (+)

All Greek to me...

SpiekerBlog (+)   01/03/2007

Apart from working on new typefaces, I have to keep expanding the existing families. OpenType not only represents the Latin alphabet, but can also include other character sets. Meta has long since had Greek and Cyrillic versions. MetaHeadline and MetaLigh (+)


SpiekerBlog (+)   26/02/2007

This is the first public showing of the new Antiqua. Lots of details will still change, but the overall impression stays. A solid working serif which matches MetaSans in weight and x-height. (+)

Get rich through typedesign?

SpiekerBlog (+)   25/02/2007

While sorting through old stuff (I’m looking for the first sketches for Officina) I came across the first cheque ITC wrote me in the summer of 1991. ITC Officina had officially been introduced in November 1990 after we had delivered data as early as 198 (+)

Meanwhile, at University

SpiekerBlog (+)   23/02/2007

Just did a quick workshop in preparation for a proper workshop at the University of the Arts in Bremen. Those are the people who gave me the Professor title. While they don’t pay me for the work, it feels good to go back and confront young students now (+)

Amazing type

SpiekerBlog (+)   23/02/2007

Go to amaztype and type in an author’s name or any other word. The engine then finds mentions of that word on Amazon and assembles icons of the book covers into the name you originally entered into the search box! Also works for CDs and DVDs. Ivo Gab (+)

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