Ferdinand Ulrich is a typographer and design researcher based in Berlin. He pursues a PhD at the University of Reading, researching the discourse during transitional phases of early digital type design.

He teaches at UdK Berlin since 2015, more recently in the foundation year. He also taught typography in Potsdam in 2016, at Burg Halle 2012–2015 and 2019. His research and other articles are frequently published in Eye magazine, typographica.org et al. He wrote for fontshop.com 2013—2017 and translates for Pulp since 2018.

Occasionally he is invited to speak at conferences and symposiums, including ANRT Nancy 2019, TYPO Labs 2018, Adobe MAX 2018, Kerning 2018, ATypI 2017, TYPO Berlin 2016 & 2013.

Ferdinand is a member of ATypIBauhaus Archive and Letterform Archive. He studied visual communication at UdK Berlin and at Carnegie Mellon University with a Fulbright grant.

Selected design projects

Bauhäusler 5: Fred Forbat, Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, publication with typesetting by Lunia D’Ambrosio, 2019

Tipoteca Series, Adobe Fonts, curation of three expressionist typeface revivals with Ulrike Rausch and p98a, 2019

Handliche Bibliothek der Romantik, Secession Verlag, book series with p98a, 2019

Bauhaus Series, Adobe Fonts, curation of five typeface revivals with p98a, 2018

Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, newspaper special issue with Norman Posselt and p98a, 2018

Hesse Antiqua, FontShop/Monotype, typeface revival with Gudrun Zapf and Bernd Volmer, 2017

Weiterbauen, weiterdenken. Neue Häuser für Martin Luther (Matthias Noell, ed.), Stiftung Luthergedenkstätten, publication, 2017

Burg-Enzyklopädie (Matthias Noell, ed.), Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, publication, 2015

Bauhäusler 1–4 (Sibylle Hoiman, ed.), Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, publication series, 2012–2016

Conference presentations and guest lectures

Forthcoming → Cast Away: Nebiolo in Darmstadt
Symposium: “Italian Typography Redefined: the Nebiolo type foundry”. Turin, Italy
September 2021

Type designer’s tools (virtual lecture)
→ video on academy.martinaflor.com
Summer program: “Letter & Co.”
Oktober 2020

Typografische Qualität definieren (virtual lecture)
Seminar: “Design Basics”, Berlin University of the Arts
13 July 2020

Matrices Reloaded
Show & Tell, Zwölf. Berlin, Germany
9 January 2020


Last man casting
Type Tuesday: “Type now. Eye 98 live”, St. Bride Foundation. London, UK
4 June 2019

TypoFoto (with Norman Posselt)
UMPRUM, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. Prague, Czech Republic
23 May 2019

Fanfare, the expressive blackletter Grotesk from Berlin (closing talk) → video on Vimeo
Symposium: “Gotico Antiqua”, ANRT Nancy, France
26 April 2019

Zapf Centennial Symposium → video on Vimeo
(panel: Robert Bringhurst, Ferdinand Ulrich, Julian Waters, moderation: David Pankow), The Grolier Club. New York City/NY, USA
20 March 2019


Post-digital letterpress
(with Erik Spiekermann and Flavia Zimbardi) → video available
Adobe MAX 2018, Convention Center. Los Angeles/CA, USA
15 October 2018

Designing digital type before 1984
Summer course: “TDi 2018” (Gerry Leonidas), University of Reading, Department of Typography and Graphic Communication. Reading, UK
19 July 2018

Adobe Typekit Panel
(panel alongside Céline Hurka, Luca Pellegrini, Ferdinand Ulrich, Hidetaka Yamasaki, Flavia Zimbardi, moderation: Frank Grießhammer)
Ramscale Studio, New York City/NY, USA
12 June 2018

Exploring post-digital letterpress (closing talk)
→ video on Vimeo
Kerning Conference 2018: “L’infinito”, Cinema Teatro Sarti. Faenza, Italy
8 June 2018

Typographic affairs
Lecture series: “Designpositionen”, University of Applied Sciences Konstanz, Germany
8 May 2018

An introduction to tools and shapes before PostScript
(preceded by a panel discussion on Tools and shapes, moderation: Gerry Leonidas)
TYPO Labs 2018: “How far can we go?”, Umweltforum/Auferstehungskirche. Berlin, Germany
13 April 2018

Zapf & Stauffacher. Collaborations between type designer and typographer
UK Fine Press Book Fair 2018, Kassam Conference Centre. Oxford, UK
25 March 2018

Post-digital letterpress
University of Reading, Department of Typography and Graphic Communication. Reading, UK
21 February 2018

Hierarchien und Rasterstrukturen in der Gestaltung von Formularen und Fahrplänen
Seminar: “Interface design: gute Formulare gestalten” (Frank Rausch), University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, Germany
19 January 2018


Der Greif: Ein Werkzeug zum Walzenstellen
Berliner Typostammtisch #70. Berlin, Germany
26 October 2017

The 1983 ATypI working seminar at Stanford
ATypI 2017, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada
15 September 2017

Type design systems presented at the 1983 ATypI working seminar in Stanford
Summer course: “TDi 2017” (Gerry Leonidas), University of Reading, Department of Typography and Graphic Communication. Reading, UK
20 July 2017

Struktur, Hierarchie, Lesbarkeit in Alltagsdrucksachen
Seminar: “Kompaktwoche Typografie” (Anna Berkenbusch), Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle/Saale, Germany
29 May 2017

Das Werk von Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse in Auszügen und Anekdoten
Exhibition opening “Die Schrift- und Buchkünstlerin Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse”, Frankfurt Goethe Museum. Frankfurt/Main, Germany
30 March 2017


Alltagsdrucksachen und deren Archivierung
Seminar: “Kompaktwoche Typografie” (Anna Berkenbusch), Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle/Saale, Germany
22 June 2016

Bucheinbände, Schriftentwürfe, Schriftblätter und Malerei
Schriftenfest 2016, Offizin Haag-Drugulin. Dresden, Germany
18 June 2016

Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse: Ein Leben für die Schrift
(with Norman Posselt, closing talk) → video available
TYPO Berlin 2016: “Beyond design”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Berlin, Germany
16 May 2016

20 bemerkenswerte Schriften aus der Werkstatt p98a
Berliner Typostammtisch #54. Berlin, Germany
31 March 2016


Schrift im Archiv
Seminar: “Theoretisch und Angewandt” (Franziska Morlok/Martin Conrads), Berlin University of the Arts. Berlin, Germany
25 November 2015

Gestaltungspraxis heute: Welche Bedeutung hat Qualität im Design?
(panel alongside Friedrich Forssman, Stefan Guzy, Regina Kehn, moderation: Bernard Stein)
Design im Wandel, Bauhaus-Archiv/Museum für Gestaltung. Berlin, Germany
16 September 2015

Einige Schriften der Elementaren Typografie
2. Walbaum-Wochenende: “Das Bauhaus und die Elementare Typografie”, Pavillon-Presse. Weimar, Germany
12 September 2015

Dialogische Lesung: Die Burg Giebichenstein alphabetisch. Eine Hochschulenzyklopädie
(alongside Matthias Noell, Juliane Aleithe, Julius Luge)
14. Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften. Halle, Germany
3 June 2015

Die 100 besten Plakate der Burg: Handschrift vs. Satzschrift
Galerie im Volkspark, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle/Saale, Germany
18 February 2015


Hunt Roman: A journey
Design the Future Lecture Series, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh/PA, USA
10 September 2014

Hands-on computing in type design: Some examples of early font production on the verge of analogue and digital
Tangible Media Group, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge/MA, USA
5 September 2014

Typefaces and their stories
Lunchtime Lectures, Continuum Innovation. Boston/MA, USA
4 September 2014

Comenius, Zapf Book & Marconi: Three typefaces from 1976
Herb Lubalin Lecture Series, The Cooper Union. New York City/NY, USA
18 March 2014

Hermann Zapf’s beginnings in the United States and the Hunt Roman project
The New York Typophiles. New York City/NY, USA
12 March 2014


The Hunt Roman genealogy
Seminar: “History of Type” (Paul Shaw), School of Visual Arts. New York City/NY, USA
3 September 2013

Hunt Roman: Touching type
TYPO Berlin 2013: “Touch”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt. Berlin, Germany
17 May 2013

Typografie an der Ittenschule, Berlin 1926—1934
Hamburger Typostammtisch #18. Hamburg, Germany
17 January 2013


Hunt Roman: Eine außergewöhnliche Schrift
Berliner Typostammtisch #33. Berlin, Germany
27 September 2012

Hunt Roman: A unique typeface
BrainFood, Edenspiekermann. Berlin, Germany
23 August 2012

Genealogie und Anthologie der Schrift Hunt Roman
Media Theory graduate ceremony, Berlin University of the Arts. Berlin, Germany
10 July 2012

The Itten College: A modern art school during the 1920s and 1930s in Berlin
AIGA Pecha Kucha Night. Pittsburgh/PA, USA
13 November 2009


Forthcoming → Fanfare. The expressive blackletter grotesk from Berlin / Fanfare. La linéale gothique expressive de Berlin, in: Jérôme Knebusch (ed.): Gotico-Antiqua, Proto-Roman, Hybrid. 15th century types between gothic and roman, ANRT Nancy 2021, pp. 181–208


Minjoo Ham. Ode to darkness, in: Eye magazine, vol. 25, no. 100, London 2020, pp. 64–65 [ISSN 0960-779X] → extract on Eye blog

Status quo letterpress (with E. Spiekermann), in: M. Lange (ed.): K.H. Drescher. Berlin typo posters, texts and interviews, Karlsruhe 2020, pp. 200–202 [ISBN 978-3-948440-00-8]


Typeface review: Phase, typographica.org, 16 December 2019

Handsatz / Schriftentwurf, in: P. Eisele/I. Naegele/M. Lailach (eds.): Moholy-Nagy und die Neue Typografie, Bönen 2019, p. 44, pp. 62–63 [ISBN 978-3-86206-753-4]

Last man casting, in: Eye magazine, vol. 25, no. 98, London 2019, pp. 76–72 [ISSN 0960-779X] → Eye blog

Form durch Funktion, in: Wankel-Journal, no. 90, 2019, p. 9

美しい書体こそ、デザインの原点だ, in: Pen Magazine, no. 471, Tokyo 2019, pp. 46–47

Hesse Antiqua, redefined post-digitally, p98a.com, 2 January 2019


Typeface reviews: Alfarn, CarlMarx, Joschmi, Reross, Xants, in: Bauhaus. Zeitschrift der Stiftung Bauhaus, no. 10, vol. 8, Dessau 2018, p. 134–137 [ISBN 978-3-95905-225-2]

P98A Haas A New Gauge. Measuring tools for different point systems, p98a.com, 20 August 2018

Typeface review: Bitcount, typographica.org, 18 October 2018

Zapf and Stauffacher. Collaborations between type designer and typographer, The Old School Press, United Kingdom 2018 [ISBN 978-1-899933-35-8]

Jack’s friends, in: Book Club of California Quarterly, vol. 83, no. 2, San Francisco 2018, p. 43

Post-digital endeavours at p98a.berlin, in: Parenthesis, The Journal of The Fine Press Book Association, no. 34. Cambridge 2018 [ISSN 1462-9895]

A brief overview of developments in digital type design, in: Yearbook of type, vol. 3, Karlsruhe 2018, pp. 414–417 [ISBN 978-3-9818296-2-4] → self-published on Medium or PDF

Hesse Antiqua zum 100. Geburtstag, in: Die TeXnische Komödie, vol. 30, no. 1, Heidelberg 2018, pp. 57–65 [ISSN 1434-5897]

Hesse Antiqua. Typeface release at 100, fontshop.com, 2 January 2018


Letter stories U–S–A, in: P98a Paper, vol. 2, no. 6, Berlin 2017, pp. 25, 37, 51 [ISSN 2365-9009]

Futura and its environment (with E. Spiekermann), in: P. Eisele/A. Ludwig/I. Naegele (eds.): Futura. The typeface, London 2017, pp. 478–490 [ISBN 978-1-78627-093-1]

Get a grip on the Walzengreif, p98a.com, 1 November 2017

From punch cutters to number crunchers, in: Eye magazine, vol. 24, no. 94, London 2017, pp. 36–41 [ISSN 0960-779X] → Eye blog

The story of PMN Caecilia Sans, monotype.com, 10 July 2017

Typeface review: Dunbar, typographica.org, 5 July 2017

Lichte Fette Grotesk – Shedding light on the bold inline style, p98a.com, 23 May 2017

Крат­кая ис­то­рия гео­мет­ри­че­ских гро­те­сков в не­мец­кой куль­ту­ре (translated and edited by Eugene Yukechev and Anastasia Minasova), typejournal.ru, 15 February 2017

Introducing FontFont type board (interview with Jonathan Barnbrook), fontshop.com, 10 February 2017


Futura und ihr Umfeld (with E. Spiekermann), in: P. Eisele/A. Ludwig/I. Naegele (eds.): Futura. Die Schrift, Mainz 2016, pp. 478–490 [ISBN 978-3-87439-893-0] → PDF

Futura Schmuck (with E. Spiekermann), in: P. Eisele/I. Naegele (eds.): Tribute to Paul, Mainz 2016 [ISBN 978-3-9818002-3-4] → online here

Book review: Der Typograph Hermann Zapf. Eine Werkbiografie, in: Jahrbuch für Kommunikationsgeschichte, vol. 18, Stuttgart 2016, p. 201 f. [ISBN 978-3-515-11604-6] → PDF

Why we need a new Kabel, fontshop.com, 16 November 2016

\’pāj\, in: B. Brumnjak/G. Günder (eds.): 30 Jahre Page. 30 Gestalter unter 30 gratulieren, Hamburg 2016

The perception of black & white and the effect of contrast, fontshop.com, 22 August 2016

The Magic Polygon: How to define type sizes, widths and spaces, fontshop.com, 6 July 2016

Typeface review: Neue Demos, typographica.org, 9 May 2016

“Variance meets consistency” (interview with Hannes von Döhren, Andreas Frohloff, Ivo Gabrowitsch, Christoph Koeberlin, Jens Kutílek, Erik Spiekermann and Bernd Volmer), fontshop.com, 16 March 2016

Stencil alphabets: Interrupted strokes and divided shapes, fontshop.com, 9 March 2016

Mixing type, part 1: Macro, fontshop.com, 23 February 2016


Cooper Hewitt: The Typeface (review), in: L. Kudrnovská (ed.): 365 typo. 365 stories on type, typography and graphic design, Paris 2015, p. 201 [ISBN 979-10-95254-00-3]

Typeface review: FF Real (interview with Erik Spiekermann and Ralph du Carrois), fontshop.com, 30 July 2015

Plastiktüte: God bless America, in: A. Berkenbusch/S. Fricke/L. Petersen/L. Sievertsen (eds.): Mitteilungen aus dem Zettelwerk, vol. 1, Halle (Saale) 2015, p. 46–49 [ISBN 978-3-86019-119-4]

Antiqua und Fraktur / Cola-Dose / Flugverbindung / Grotesk / Schulpresse / Sigillum Burgensis / Thomas-Schrift / Visitenkarten des Deutschen Geistes (8 separate entries), in: M. Noell (ed.): Die Burg Giebichenstein in Halle, alphabetisch geordnet. Eine Hochschulenzyklopädie, Halle/Saale 2015, pp. 27 f., 75 f., 123 f., 170 f., 387, 394 f., 420 f., 460 f. [ISBN 978-3-935053-85-3] → PDF

Type vs. Lettering. Schrift auf den 100 besten Plakaten, in: A. Berkenbusch (ed.): 100 beste Plakate der Burg Giebichenstein, Halle/Saale 2015, p. 13–15 [ISBN 978-3-86019-115-6]

A round of applause for well-rounded type talent, part 3, fontshop.com, 3 June 2015

A round of applause for well-rounded type talent, part 2, fontshop.com, 13 May 2015

A round of applause for well-rounded type talent, part 1, fontshop.com, 31 March 2015

Typeface review: Cooper Hewitt, typographica.org, 19 March 2015

The 100 Best Posters of Burg Giebichenstein, fontshop.com, 30 January 2015


Voice of reason. The rediscovery of Friedrich-Bauer-Grotesk, fontshop.com, 18 December 2014

Why letterpress today. On working with Erik Spiekermann at p98a, in: Print Magazine, vol. 69, no. 1, Cincinnati 2015, pp. 38 f.

From compressed light to extended ultra. Visual systems in type design, fontshop.com, 26 August 2014

“Halle-Neustadt hat eine gewisse Art von Schönheit” (with A. Berkenbusch), in: J. Reuter (ed.): Wie wollen wir leben? 50 Jahre Halle-Neustadt. Positionen und Reflexionen aus Kunst und Design, Halle/Saale 2014, pp. 58–69 [ISBN 978-3-86019-107-1]

Types of their time. A small history of the geometric sans, fontshop.com, 2 April 2014

The Prototype. What we can learn from one of Hermann Zapf’s last metal typefaces, in: The Journal of the Printing Historical Society, new series, no. 20, London 2014, pp. 5–24 [ISSN 0079-5321] → excerpt PDF


Der “Kulturbotschafter”. Hermann Zapfs Anfänge in den Vereinigten Staaten und das Projekt Hunt Roman, in: Journal für Druckgeschichte, vol. 19, no. 3, Ostfildern 2013, pp. 25–27 [ISSN 0012-1096] → PDF

The Hunt Roman Quadriga. How four printing workshops rescued an almost forgotten typeface, in: Parenthesis, The Journal of The Fine Press Book Association, no. 25. Chicago 2013, pp. 14–18 [ISSN 1462-9895]

Types of their time. Early traces of the geometric sans in Germany, ffmark.com (micro site of FSI FontShop International), August 2013

Friendship, collaboration, philosophy (extracts from Hunt Roman Genealogy), in: A. Schmidt/P. M. Sommer (eds.): Typoversity. Projekte und Diskurse zur typografischen Ausbildung an Hochschulen, vol. 2, Hamburg 2013, p. 56–67 [ISBN 978-3-939028-35-2]


Typeface review: Hunt Roman, typographica.org, 22 July 2012

Subtitle Heavy (type specimen), in: Rob Keller/Sonja Keller (eds.): Capital. Berliner Buchstaben, Berlin 2011 [ISBN 978-3-943139-00-6]

Wie man durch die Zeit reist. Eine Studie über Realität und Fiktion im Zeitreisekontext (with Tanja Kapahnke), in: D. Skopec (ed.): Klasse Visuelle Systeme. Zeit/Bild/Protokolle, Berlin 2011, p. 25–28

Press features

変わらぬ挑戦の心 デジタルでいき吹き返す, in: Nikkei Newspaper, Tokyo, 8 December 2019, p. 11

typographica.org, 16 December 2019

page-online.de, 11 July 2018

Page, no. 10, Hamburg 2018, p. 75 f.

Fragenziehen mit Ferdinand Ulrich, typotalks.com, 19 April 2018

Form, no. 276, Frankfurt/Main 2018, p. 101 f.

Page, no. 3, Hamburg 2018, p. 54 f. → online version here

itsnicethat.com, 4 January 2018

Page, no. 7, Hamburg 2017, p. 79 f.

30 Gestalter unter 30, in: Page, no. 11, Hamburg 2016, p. 36 → online version here

365 typo, vol. 2, Paris 2016, p. 306

Viscom Print & Communication, vol. 19, no. 15/16, St. Gallen 2016, p. 41

Deutscher Drucker, vol. 52, no. 12, Ostfildern 2016, p. 29

ファーディナント・ウルリッヒ:文字にかけた人生 グドルン・ツァップ・フォン・ヘッセ, typotalks.com, 16 May 2016

Ferdinand Ulrich: Ein Leben für die Schrift, typotalks.com, 16 May 2016

At work with Ferdinand Ulrich, fontshop.com, 16 December 2015

Burg Giebichenstein in alphabetical order, fontshop.com, 11 August 2015

Creative Characters, vol. 94, myfonts.com, June 2015

Burg-Enzyklopädie, fontsinuse.com, 5 June 2015

Lunchtime Lecture: Ferdinand Ulrich, continuuminnovation.com, 5 September 2014

Ferdinand Ulrich: Genealogy of a typeface, in: Novum, no. 10, Munich 2013, p. 30 f.

Deutscher Drucker, no. 13, 49th year, Ostfildern 2013, p. 20 f.

Ferdinand Ulrich: Hunt Roman. Touching Type, typotalks.com, 19 May 2013

Hunt Roman Genealogy, in: Typoversity. Projekte und Diskurse zur typografischen Ausbildung an Hochschulen, vol. 2, Hamburg 2013, pp. 56—65

Circa vier Fragen an Ferdinand Ulrich, typotalks.com, 28 March 2013

Academic teaching and research

2019/20 · Visiting lecturer with Henrike Uthe (interim for Ulrich Schwarz), Design Basics, Berlin University of the Arts, UdK

Spring 2019 · Visiting lecturer, Modular type and typographic modules, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle (invited by Andrea Tinnes)

Spring 2019 · Lecture and workshop: Fanfare Letterpress, Atelier National de Recherche Typographique, ANRT, ENSAD Nancy (invited by Jérôme Knebusch)

2017, 2018 · Guest lecturer, TDi Summer Course, Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, University of Reading (invited by Gerry Leonidas)

Spring 2018 · Guest critic, Editorial Design class, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle (invited by Anna Berkenbusch)

2017/18 · Visiting lecturer, Visual Systems class, Berlin University of the Arts, UdK (invited by David Skopec)

2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 · Workshops, Design Basics, Berlin University of the Arts, UdK (invited by Ulrich Schwarz)

2016 · Visiting lecturer, Typography Basics, University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (invited by Boris Müller)

2015— · PhD candidate, Department of Typography and Graphic Communication, University of Reading (supervisors: Gerry Leonidas, Sue Walker)

2012—2015 · Associate lecturer, Typography Basics and Editorial Design class (with Anna Berkenbusch), Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle

2011 · Visiting scholar, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh/PA (invited by Terry Irwin)

2011—2012 · Teaching assistant (Tutor), Visual Systems class (David Skopec), Berlin University of the Arts, UdK

2010—2011 · Research assistant (Tutor) at Information Design class (Severin Wucher), Berlin University of the Arts, UdK


Travelling and work → @ferdinandulrich
Glimpses of PhD research → @digitaltype
Rare tweets → @fpeulrich
Elsewhere → Academia, GitHub, Medium, Vimeo