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typography tips for designers

20 Wise Thoughts by Typography Master Erik Spiekermann

Good design is often based on a careful mix of tradition and innovation. And revolutionary inventions are solidly based on the findings by previous generations of professionals. So, whatever a domain of creative work you have chosen as your job, it’s important to sometimes stop and look back, listening to wise and experienced voices of people being in that job for years.

 

Earlier we have already shared numerous expert quotes, tips, video talks and books worth reviewing to support our readers with useful resources. In particular, you could check the insights into Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro and  Designing for Emotion by Aarron Walter—the books belong to the series A Book Apart for designers offering the diversity of expert tips, case studies, and resources. Today continuing on this way, we are sharing a new set of quotes by Erik Spiekermann, a famous German typographer, designer and writer, an honorary professor at the University of the Arts Bremen and ArtCenter College of Design. Having passed the long way in graphic design from 1970s, being an author of books and articles as well as awards winner, he is justly recognized as a guru of typography and avidly shares his experience and expertise. So, here we will save a bunch of 20 useful expert tips for Tubik Quotes Collection — we got them from his blog, his interview for 99U and other published writings.  Join in and let’s look into his thoughts together to know a bit more about the master.

 

erik spiekermann photo

 

I’m very much a word person, so that’s why typography for me is the obvious extension. It just makes my words visible.

 

Inher­ent qual­ity is part of absolute qual­ity and with­out it things will appear shoddy. The users may not know why, but they always sense it.

 

These days, information is a commodity being sold. And designers—including the newly defined subset of information designers and information architects—have a responsible role to play. We are interpreters, not merely translators, between sender and receiver. What we say and how we say it makes a difference. If we want to speak to people, we need to know their language. In order to design for understanding, we need to understand design.

 

Erik Spiekermann Quotes Design 06

 

The materials shape your idea.

 

I learned that a brand isn’t a logo. There has to be implementation. You can design anything, but if the rubber doesn’t hit the road, you’ll be remembered as a great strategist but the client won’t call you again. You have to have a strategy, and you also have to be able to visualize it—one doesn’t go without the other.

 

Erik Spiekermann Quotes Design 05

The attention someone gives to what he or she makes is reflected in the end result, whether it is obvious or not.

 

I’ve always designed typefaces for specific solutions. In other words, a problem. Everything has always been done for a specific purpose. As a designer, you work for somebody else. That’s not negative. I work for a client, and I solve their problems. I bring my artistic vision to it, my creativity, whatever you want to call it. But essentially, I’m being paid to blow somebody else’s trumpet.

 

You are what you are seen to be.

 

Erik Spiekermann Quotes Design 04

 

The function has to be the brand. If it works well, it has to be branded at the same time.

 

If a design project is to be considered successful—and success is the true measure of quality—it must not only add an aesthetic dimension, but solve the problem at hand.

 

I mean, everyone puts their history into their work.

Erik Spiekermann Quotes Design 02

 

When I do typography, it’s 150 percent effort.

 

I know a lot of advertising agencies that thrive on overtime because they have a dozen interns who work for free and they spend their weekends doing free pitches. We don’t do free pitches because we don’t have any free time. Our time is valuable, and I’m not giving away ideas to some prospective client. That’s giving away the most valuable resource you have.

 

Work is gas. Work will fill any given volume.

Erik Spiekermann Quotes Design 03

 

 

Clients need to understand that they’ve hired us to do something they are not good at. And that they need to pay us for our knowledge, skills, experience and, yes: attitude.

 

 

My advice, now and always, is learn, learn, learn—starting right here.

 

Contrary to popular belief, designers are not artists. We employ artistic methods to visualize thinking and process, but, unlike artists, we work to solve a client’s problem, not present our own view of the world.

Erik Spiekermann Quotes Design 07

Being a designer is all about attitude. Sure, you have to know your craft, but as we both found out, you can pick most of that up over time if you’re prepared to listen, watch, and learn. Without the right attitude, however, you’ll always be a vendor to some people, a crazy artist to others.

 

So what’s new? The present generation of UI/UX designers may think that they invented a new way of designing, but we’ve had these issues forever. Trying to fit a lot of text onto the how-to page inside a pharmaceutical package is probably more difficult than doing the same on a screen. There’s no zoom on that paper, so it has to be really well done just for that one version and circumstance. My method? Think. Consider. Sketch. Think again. And look around you. It’s all been done before, albeit with different code.

 

Inspiration. From real life. I open my eyes and I travel and I look. And I read everything.

 

Erik Spiekermann Quotes Design 01

 

Bonus: video talks with Erik Spiekermann on design, typography and life lessons

 

Typographic Design in the Digital Domain

 

 

Erik Spiekermann: Typomaniac

 

 

Erik Spiekermann – Type Is Visible Language

 


Welcome to check the quotes by Mike Monteiro from «Design Is a Job» and by Aarron Walter from «Designing for Emotion«

Welcome to check issues of Tubik Quotes Collection on brandingusabilityuser-centered design and content strategy

Welcome to read or download Tubik Magazine free books on logo designdesign for business and problem-solving web design

ted talks graphic design typography books

TED-talks: Typography, Books, Graphic Design.

It’s not a secret how diverse and influential is graphic design nowadays. It covers multiple purposes and serves a great deal of diverse spheres of human life and activity. Today it is enhanced and strengthened by broad opportunities of modern technologies, but new generations of the best designers keep following the roots and getting inspired by the experts.

 

One of the ways to inspiration we find productive and highly professional here in Tubik Studio is TED videos. Perhaps you remember the collections we have already suggested watching: 20 TED talks for designers about diverse design issues and 10 TED-talks for creatives from different spheres. Today we’re going to recommend you a new set of professional and informative TED and TEDx-talks that we find interesting, useful and helpful. 

 

Here is the collection of 10 TED-talks all with the descriptions given on the TED website or YouTube presentations. This time they are focused on the issues of graphic design. Most of them are already classic, sometimes even could be called legendary, and that makes them even more precious as they have been successfully checked with the time and practice. The ability to analyze take the best from the past usually broadens the creative horizons and becomes a solid foundation for innovative thinking. So, enjoy watching and feel the energy of great masters!

 

My life in typefaces — Matthew Carter

 

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you’ll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books — remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

 

 

Intricate beauty by design — Marian Bantjes

 

In graphic design, Marian Bantjes says, throwing your individuality into a project is heresy. She explains how she built her career doing just that, bringing her signature delicate illustrations to storefronts, valentines and even genetic diagrams.

 

 

The art of first impressions — in design and life — Chip Kidd

 

Book designer Chip Kidd knows all too well how often we judge things by first appearances. In this hilarious, fast-paced talk, he explains the two techniques designers use to communicate instantly — clarity and mystery — and when, why and how they work. He celebrates beautiful, useful pieces of design, skewers less successful work, and shares the thinking behind some of his own iconic book covers.

 

 

Designing books is no laughing matter. OK, it is. — Chip Kidd

 

Chip Kidd doesn’t judge books by their cover, he creates covers that embody the book — and he does it with a wicked sense of humor. In one of the funniest talks from TED2012, he shows the art and deep thought of his cover designs. This talk is from The Design Studio session at TED2012, guest-curated by Chee Pearlman and David Rockwell.

 

 

Can design save newspapers? — Jacek Utko

 

Jacek Utko is an extraordinary Polish newspaper designer whose redesigns for papers in Eastern Europe not only win awards, but increase circulation by up to 100%. Can good design save the newspaper? It just might.

 

 

Why write? Penmanship for the 21st Century — Jake Weidmann

 

What is the future of writing in the digital age, and why does it matter? In this surprising talk, Master Penman Jake Weidmann explores the connections between the pen and how we learn, think, and carry our cultural heritage at a time when the very act of writing is being dropped from school curricula across the country.

 

Jake Weidmann became the youngest person to receive his Master Penman certificate in July 2011. He works across several mediums including drawing in pencil and charcoal; pen and ink; painting in acrylic, airbrush, oil and gouache; sculpting in wood, bone, antler and clay; and is versed in numerous forms of calligraphy. He is best known for the integration of flourishing and hand- lettering in his art. Jake also designs his own hand-made pens. He, like his pens, travels the globe, reintroducing this Old World art form and cultivating its relevance in the world of today, of tomorrow, and forevermore.

 

 

The beauty of data visualization — David McCandless

 

David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut — and it may just change the way we see the world.

 

 

Wake up & smell the fonts — Sarah Hyndman

 

Sarah shares with us a story of type and invites us to consider our emotional response to the printed word. Each font/typeface has a personality that influences our interpretation of the words we read by evoking our emotions and setting the scene. We all understand this instinctively but it happens on a subconscious level. Sarah shows us that conscious awareness of the emotional life of fonts can be entertaining and ultimately give us more control over the decisions we make.

 

Designer Sarah Hyndman explores typography as we experience it in our every day lives under the banner of Type Tasting. Since the launch in 2013 she’s curated an exhibition at the V&A for the London Design Festival, been interviewed on Radio 4’s Today, taken Type Tasting to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and has been commissioned to write a book.

 

Sarah has been a graphic designer for over 15 years, working in agencies before setting up design company With Relish. After studying an MA in Typo/Graphics at the London College of Communication she was invited back as a guest tutor.

 

 

Typography — now you see it — Shelley Gruendler

 

Dr Shelley Gruendler is a typographer, designer, and educator who teaches, lectures, and publishes internationally on typography and design. When she is not traveling the world as the founding director of Type Camp International, she is proud to live in the Canadian Typographic Archipelago.

 

 

The art of kinetic typography — Dan Boyarski

 

Dan Boyarski is a professor and former head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has been for thirty-two years. His interests lie in visualizing complex information, interface and interaction design, and how word, image, sound, and movement may be combined for effective communication. In the spring of 1999, the Design Management Institute awarded Dan the Muriel Cooper Prize for «outstanding achievement in advancing design, technology, and communications in the digital environment.»

 

 

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