19th International Eyes & Ears Awards

Erik Spiekermann

Eyes & Ears of Europe
Prof. Dr.h.c. Erik Spiekermann, Berlin

"I've always had typomania, an incurable but not fatal disease." This sentence by Erik Spiekermann describes his magical fascination and his great passion for fonts with pinpoint accuracy. Spiekermann founded the design agency MetaDesign in 1979 and worked primarily for companies in the graphic arts industry. In 1989 Fontshop AG was founded, one of the first mail order companies for computer typefaces, followed by founding FSI FontShop International together with Neville Brody in 1990. It is Erik Spiekermann's achievement to have made the classics among fonts fit for digital use - even more importantly - to design future classics directly for computer typesetting. With Meta and Officina, Spiekermann has designed two fonts that are now used globally. They have transformed the traditional ideals of typography into a new media age. Spiekermann left MetaDesign in 2000. He took over the redesign for The Economist and founded the branding and design agency United Designers Network (today: EdenSpiekermann). Spiekermann is far more than just a "press man", above all, he is a unique graphic designer who has worked for clients such as ZDF, WDR, Nokia and Deutsche Bahn. His work is visible to almost every visitor in Berlin when he looks at the public transport network's route map. In America, the advertising campaign for Barack Obama used one of the fonts of the German designer and typographer for the slogan "Yes, we can". Erik Spiekermann receives this year's Eyes & Ears Excellence Award for his work in typography and his lifetime achievement.