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Saturday, 21. October 2006
Kern Up The Volume! — The International Society of Typographic Designers [ISTD] announces that Prof. Erik Spiekermann, »I am Meta«, one of the best-known typographic and information designers, is undertaking a five venue Typography and Design Lecture Tour in the UK from 30 October to 3 November 2006 — Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol and London, promising a highly informative, inspirational — and entertaining series.
The event is split into two sessions. The afternoon is for students and tutors and will emphasize the importance of typography in graphic design. The aim is to raise the awareness, understanding, appreciation and application of typography in a number of contexts. A question and answer session at the end provides the opportunity for the audience to raise questions with the speakers. — The evening session is for professionals and will provide a platform for a showcase of work and ideas and perhaps a focus on a particular Theme. This will also be followed by a question and answer session with the audience. — Kern Up The Volume, the tour, starts in Belfast on Monday 30 October, and travels on to Glasgow for Tuesday 31 October, followed by Manchester Wednesday 1 November, and Bristol on Thursday 2 November, with the finale on Friday 3 November in London.
Jonathan Doney, ISTD Chair, and instigator of this roadshow project comments. »Erik is very well respected in the design industry, and quite unique in his approach, especially when sharing his extensive knowledge and experience of typography and design – he is notoriously outspoken and always entertaining. I am sure the tour will create much interest in matters typographic, and with the other notable speakers taking part at each venue, it promises to be a very special series.« Freda Sack, President of ISTD comments: »This project is one of a series of initiatives by ISTD to bring down typography to a new audience. We are delighted that Erik has agreed to spend a week of his time on this »ISTD typographic roadshow«. KUTV follows on from the recent success of ISTD’s »My London, My City«, exhibition held in September during the London Design Festival.«
At the end of 2005, Deutsche Bahn [German Railways] rolled out a new family of typefaces to be used in all their communications, except signage, where the status quo will survive for the foreseeable future. The new system of related Sans, Serif, and Slab replace Helvetica, the official corporate face, plus a plethora of others that had crept in without officially being acknowledged.
The design process was unusual. We [Christian Schwartz and Erik Spiekermann] didn’t start with a Sans and added serifs to it, but we first designed a classic serif face, a kind of anglo-american version of Sabon [one of the faces used by the Bahn] and then a related Sans — not by cutting off the serifs, but by designing a typeface that can exist on its own. The Sans and the Serif have similar proportions, but serve quite different functions. The third member of the family is DB News, essentially the Serif with stronger serifs and reduced contrast. It was designed to be used in newsletters and newspapers printed on less-than-quality paper and often on digital presses. The Sans family also includes a Condensed and a Compressed version. DB Head is a slightly cleaned-up version of DB Sans.
Originally, the client wanted to simply replace existing layouts in Helvetica by DB Sans. Every designer knows that this is never all that easy. A typeface implies its own type of layout, amount of white space, column width, sizes and mixes. The process of adapting printed matter like time-tables and other complex information media is under way and taking longer than any of us would have wanted. DB is still an organization with more than 200,000 employees, so every decision takes months, rather than weeks.
Nevertheless, DB Type was submitted to Germany's most prestigious competition, the Bundespreis [Federal Design Prize]. And out of 400 submissions — all of which had already been chosen for having won prizes before — it won the top award in the communication category. The Bundespreis is The Official Design Award on behalf of the German parliament, so the award ceremony in February 2007 will be led by a cabinet minister.
Freda Sack interviewed Prof. Erik Spiekermann
FS: What first prompted the idea of the »typographic roadshow«?
FS: How important is it to »spread the word« outside of London?
FS: Do you feel that generally the perception of typography is that of a dull and dying craft — professionally and in education?
FS: Can typography be taught in an inspiring way?
FS: In the scheme of things, communication wise, is typography important?
FS: If you could nominate five people to have on board the »typographic roadshow« who could make a difference — past or present — who would they be and why?
FS: Anything else you want to add, without giving away the script for the week!
Just being with friends, colleagues and other »typomaniacs« is worth giving up a week for. Not to mention countless lunches on the train, Baked Beans in train stations and cups of strong tea! — e
Continue Touring Erik.
ISTD the International Society of Typographic Designers, is the only international authoritative body for typography. ISTD aims to inform and inspire typographers, graphic designers, writers and educators engaged in the field of visual communication. Founded as the British Typographers Guild in 1928 by compositor Vincent Steer, who was described as an »advertising typographer« as early as 1911, its common bond a passion for the arrangement of words on paper. ISTD never loses sight of its original purpose: »to bring together in friendship and mutual help, all those with a love of the printed word«. ISTD membership denotes not only competence to design, but also acceptance of agreed standards and ethics of working. Design companies and other related organizations support the Society through Corporate Membership. Colleges and Universities can apply for Institutional membership. ISTD gives high priority to supporting design education. Membership is also offered to graduates who successfully complete ISTD’s Annual Student Assessment Scheme, initiated in 1977, and now running internationally.
Personnel note from Dieter Telfser: Prof. Erik Spiekermann encouraged me to express clearly whatever I thought and felt. He showed me how to avoid any compromise. I would like to take this occasion to thank him for being what he is. And to participate in a very authentic and genuine kernel of expressive strength!
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