Ferdinand Ulrich is a typographer, a type historian and an occasional type designer. At p98a.berlin he explores the possibilities of post-digital letterpress, while pursuing a PhD at the University of Reading, where he researches the discourse of early digital type design technologies.

Ferdinand teaches typography and others aspects of visual communication, very recently at UdK Berlin and FH Potsdam. From 2012 and 2015 he was an associate lecturer at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle. He is regularly invited to various universities as a guest lecturer, e.g. the Cooper Union, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Reading. In 2018, he co-supervised five typefaces based on Bauhaus letterings, designed by a group of international students, released with Adobe Typekit.

He is also a frequent speaker at international conferences, including TYPO Berlin and ATypI as well as TYPO Labs and Kerning. In 2016 he gave the closing talk at TYPO Berlin, honoring the lifetime achievement of Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse.

His research and other contributions have been published in journals and periodicals, including Eye magazine, Print, Page, Parenthesis and the Journal of the Printing Historical Society, as well as in Yearbook of Type and 365 Typo. Between 2013 and 2017 he was a freelance writer and editor of type reviews and essays for FontShop.com.

Ferdinand studied visual communication and typography in Berlin and Pittsburgh. In 2012 he received a graduate degree for his extensive research on the typeface Hunt Roman. In collaboration with Gudrun Zapf von Hesse, he digitized her very first alphabet, originally drawn in 1947, realesed as Hesse Antiqua at the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2018, → available at FontShop.


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

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

Exploring post-digital letterpress (closing talk)
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” with Verena Gerlach, Fred Smeijers, Malou Verlomme, 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

Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse: Bucheinbände, Schriftentwürfe, Schriftblätter und Malerei
Schriftenfest 2016, Offizin Haag-Drugulin. Dresden, Germany
18 June 2016

Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse: Ein Leben für die Schrift
(center piece of the talk was an interview with Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse, filmed by Norman Posselt)
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 along with 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
(along with 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


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. 442–445 [ISBN 978-3-9818296-2-4] (online version on Medium)

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 Erik 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] (short online version here)

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

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

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

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

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]

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 articles), 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]

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 Anna 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]

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]

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 coverage

Verborgene Schätze Teil 3, page-online.de, 11 July 2018

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

Digitale Hesse Antiqua (typeface review by Antje Dohmann), in: Page, no. 3, Hamburg 2018, p. 54 f. (online version here)

Gudrun Zapf von Hesse releases her first digital typeface, aged 100 (typeface review by Daphne Milner), itsnicethat.com, 4 January 2018

30 Gestalter unter 30 (designer portrait), in: Page, no. 11, Hamburg 2016, p. 36 (online version here)

TYPO Berlin 2016 (lecture review by Filip Blažek), in: L. Kudrnovská (ed.): 365 typo. 365 stories on type, typography and graphic design, vol. 2, Paris 2016, p. 306

Eine Jahrhundert-Persönlichkeit (lecture review by Silvia Werfel), in: Viscom Print & Communication, vol. 19, no. 15/16, St. Gallen 2016, p. 41

Design für den Wandel (review of TYPO Berlin 2016 by Silvia Werfel), in: Deutscher Drucker, vol. 52, no. 12, Ostfildern 2016, p. 29

Ferdinand Ulrich: Ein Leben für die Schrift — Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse (lecture review by Toshiya Izumo), typotalks.com, May 2016

At work with Ferdinand Ulrich (interview by David Sudweeks), fontshop.com, 16 December 2015

Remembering Hermann Zapf. 1918—2015 (interview by Jan Middendorp for Creative Characters, vol. 94), myfonts.com, June 2015

Lunchtime Lecture: Ferdinand Ulrich (lecture review by Allison Ryder), continuuminnovation.com, 5 September 2014

Ferdinand Ulrich: Auf den Spuren der Hunt Roman/Genealogy of a typeface (book review by Christiane Moosmann), in: Novum, World of Graphic Design, no. 10, Munich 2013, p. 30 f.

Design: charmant, skurril, frech. TYPO Berlin 2013 (lecture review by Sylvia Werfel), in: Deutscher Drucker, no. 13, 49th year, Ostfildern 2013, p. 20 f.

Ferdinand Ulrich: Hunt Roman — Touching Type (lecture review by Toshiya Izumo), typotalks.com, 19 May 2013

Hunt Roman Genealogy (book review), in: A. Schmidt/P. M. Sommer (eds.): Typoversity. Projekte und Diskurse zur typografischen Ausbildung an Hochschulen, vol. 2, Hamburg 2013, p. 56—65

Circa vier Fragen an Ferdinand Ulrich (interview by Wilhelm Noeldeke), typotalks.com, 28 March 2013

Teaching and research

2018 · Typography workshop at Editorial Design class, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle

2017—2018 · Visiting lecturer at Visual Systems class, Berlin University of the Arts (UdK)

2015, 2016, 2017 · Letterpress Lab workshops at Design Basics, Berlin University of the Arts (UdK)

2016 · Visiting lecturer of typography at University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

since 2015 · PhD research at University of Reading, Department of Typography and Graphic Communication

2012—2015 · Lecturer of typography basics; associate lecturer at Editorial Design class of Prof. Anna Berkenbusch, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle

2011 · Visiting scholar at School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh/PA

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

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