Joyce Chen


Podcast Response: Erik Speikermann


During the interview, Erik Speikermann not only revealed a short biography about himself, but his design philosophies. One of the things that stood out to me was his discussion about how designing numbers was far more difficult than designing letters. My first initial thoughts were, “how would they be different? After all, both letters and numbers were characters.” But as I sat down to analyze his opinions and design views, I realized just how difficult it would be. For letters, they can be just as connotative as denotative. What I mean is, that while the letters need to be legible to people, many people already associate letters to so many things. It is easier to convey a feeling to a letter because of our use in letters. But I started thinking about the context of when a number is used. Often times, they are used strictly to show the meaning. I was thinking about the tables I made back when I did a large amount of research. It would have been disastrous if the numbers weren’t legible. The sole purpose of numbers is to denote the number that it stands for. Because of this, I understood exactly how difficult it was to design a beautiful number while still being completely denotative. 

Another part of his interview I felt was very interesting was when he said that he viewed the Japanese characters as a way to find patterns during his trip. I felt that was something very interesting because when I studied in Hong Kong last semester, I had a very similar experience. I was able to appreciate the characters as forms because I couldn’t create any meaning from it. This connects to the work I have been doing this past week. In the Art 371 class, we are creating character marks to show expression. I felt like because it didn’t have any meaning behind it, I could fully concentrate on the forms of the marks.  

Finally, as a personal take away from the podcast, he concluded with how he wanted to have a change of pace in his lifestyle. Specifically, he wanted to go back into letterpressing and have less strict deadlines. As a personal take away, I thought it was super important for people to have a change of pace in their lifestyle so they don’t become burnt out. This has been especially relatable to me. This past summer, I had a lifestyle where I was completely on the go. I was working 70+ hour weeks and while I could come home at the end of the day knowing I had accomplished a good amount of things, I was slowly becoming burnt out. This change of pace from just starting school has allowed me to get back into the creative mode!

Joyce Chen