Erik Spiekermann - Designer & Typographer

Erik Spiekermann - Designer & Typographer

Driven by curiosity and innocence, to find what lies underneath the surface. (English episode)
1 Stunde 44 Minuten


vor 1 Jahr
Erik Spiekermann‘s greatest gift is that he never stopped thinking
like a child. He’s still driven by the same stubborn persistence,
by a tireless curiosity, and the imperturbable will to find out
what lies underneath the surface. The acclaimed designer and
typographer, responsible for the corporate looks of brands like
Audi, Bosch, and Deutsche Bahn, creator of Meta – the Helvetica of
the 90s – and the man who decided that the BVG, Berlin’s public
transportation system, needs to be yellow, is basically still a
child, just in the body of a man. As a teenage boy, Erik was
already fascinated by press printing. He got his first printing
machine from his father, a mechanic who Erik thinks passed his
strong passion for heavy machinery and their mysteries on to him.
Whenever he got the chance, he sneaked into a friend’s printing
firm at night, trying to figure out how all of this works. Setting
type and ruining one plate after the other until he internalized
the concept – letting any proof of his failed attempts vanish by
dawn – but when he finally filled the white pages with his own
hands and ideas he was hooked. Post-war Germany wasn’t an easy
playing field for a pubescent boy and young man, chances had to be
made by yourself and Erik created plenty of them. First in Berlin,
then he moved to London in the 60s with his young family, always
managing to convince the people around him that he has the ideas
that they need. It only takes a few seconds to understand how Erik
always manages to get people’s full attention – and their trust. He
is very charming but he is also a road roller. For the podcast
recording at my place, he ran up the stairs with his racing bicycle
on his shoulder (mind he’s born 1947), he wasn’t out of breath at
all but ready to dive into hours of talking about design, life, and
food. Erik used to often bake with his mother, never measuring
anything, but sensitively adjusting texture, taste, and smell by
feeling. Even then he didn’t need anyone to tell him what to do,
just a mother who taught him to refine his senses and listen to
them. He is still very protective of his ideas and visions,
fighting for them if need be, summed up in one of his many popular
quotes: “Don’t work for assholes. Don’t work with assholes.“ After
years of designing and teaching, Erik decided to go back to his
roots. All his printing equipment burnt in a severe fire in London
in the 70s. A painful chapter that he never felt he had closed, a
story he still wanted to continue writing, so he
founded p98a a few years ago. It’s a Berlin based
non-profit experimental letterpress workshop stuffed with old
equipment dedicated to letters, printing, and papers. Together with
a group of designers, he passes his knowledge and skills on to the
next generation and enjoys the play of old traditional analogue
equipment and new digital techno­logies. You can order books,
or posters and postcards with Erik’s quotes and wisdoms, and join
workshops with the master himself. Erik and his wife, Susanna,
shared the recipe for their Lemony Mushroom Risotto with me. You
can find all the blog posts about the podcast episodes including my
guests' recipes on under 'Meet in Your Kitchen'.
MUSIC: Martin Stumpf FRÜHSCHOPPEN: Ferrari Trento SOUND MIX: Kraatz
Studios MEIKE PETERS: Newsletter: Blog: Instagram: Facebook: Cookbooks:

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