Erik Spiekermann: Life is in Beta

Fontshop founder Erik Spiekermann treats everything as a work in progress. His work is his life. And vice versa. Spiekermann believes what you do defines who you are; they are not separate.

And while everything is in beta, we should constantly be thinking of rethinking design and redesigning thinking. But where do we start? Spiekermann proposes a series of strategies:

  1. Do nothing. Avoid the work and do anything but IT.
  2. Think. The simplest of options but however important.
  3. Research. Look at magazines. Go through books. This is another excuse to not do the work.
  4. Collect. He chooses print presses and bikes.
  5. Draw. Everybody can do it, no excuses.
  6. Take it apart. It’s the best way to learn.
    Erik Spiekermann © Dennis Letbetter

    Erik Spiekermann

    Art Historian, Information Architect, Type Designer, Author (Berlin, San Francisco, London)

    Erik Spiekermann is information architect, type designer and author. Two of his typefaces, FF Meta and ITC Officina, are considered to be modern classics. He founded MetaDesign (1979) and FontShop (1988). He is behind the design of well-know brands such as Audi, Bosch, VW, German Railways and Heidelberg Printing, among…

And as far Spiekermann’s team’s manifesto?

  • Speed and deep are not opposites.
  • Cooperation doesn’t mean consensus.
  • Idea generation is not idea selection.
  • Failure is part of the process.
  • And everything restarts as soon as it is finished. Nothing is ever done.

He also sees a paradigm shift from corporate to social. Hierarchical and structured has become social, real-time and collaborative.

Stay lean, eliminate waste and sketch. Spiekermann believes we don’t need leaders, but moderators. We don’t need motivation but we need inspiration to do our best.

Lastly, everybody should be responsible for themselves and for others.