Meet in My Kitchen - Erik Spiekermann - Designer / Typographer
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1T 44M • 26/1 2022

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Erik Spiekermann - Designer / Typographer

Driven by curiosity and innocence, to find what lies underneath the surface. (English episode) 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 meikepeters.com under 'Meet in Your Kitchen'. INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/meetinmykitchenpodcast GUEST: https://spiekermann.com/en https://www.instagram.com/espiekermann https://www.instagram.com/p98a RECIPE: https://www.meikepeters.com/meet-in-your-kitchen-erik-spiekermanns-lemony-mushroom-risotto MUSIC: Martin Stumpf FRÜHSCHOPPEN: Ferrari Trento SOUND MIX: Kraatz Studios https://kraatzstudios.com MEIKE PETERS: Newsletter: https://www.meikepeters.com/subscribe-2 Blog: https://www.meikepeters.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eatinmykitchen Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eatinmykitchen Cookbooks: https://www.meikepeters.com/cookbooks

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