Ferdinand Ulrich is a typographer, researcher and writer. He designs mostly publications and investigates the discourse in early digital type design technologies at the University of Reading.

Ferdinand frequently writes and translates for Eye as well as for various type foundries. He has taught graphic design and typography at Burg Halle and at UdK Berlin, more recently in the foundation year.

He has been invited to speak at universities in Cambridge/MA, Hamburg, New York, Pittsburgh and Prague, and at conferences in Berlin, Los Angeles, Montréal, Nancy and Turin.

Selected design projects

Verbindungsstücke つなぐモノ語り Tsunagu Mono Gatari ed. by Enzio Wetzel, Michael Hirschbichler, for Goethe-Institut Villa Kamogawa, Kyoto, Wasmuth & Zohlen, collaboration with Toshiya Izumo, art catalogue, 2022

Nach dem Tagebuch. Das Schicksal von Anne Frank und der anderen Untergetauchten aus dem Hinterhaus by Bas von Benda-Beckmann, Secession Verlag, 2021

Werner Düttmann. Nachdenken über Architektur, ed. by Sibylle Hoiman, for Akademie der Künste Berlin, Wasmuth & Zohlen, publication, 2021

Mythische Konstruktionen. Kult- und Geisterhäuser Papua-Neuguineas by Michael Hirschbichler, Wasmuth & Zohlen, collaboration with Julie Heumüller, publication, 2021

Wider das Verschwinden der Dinge. Die Erfindung des Denkmalinventars by Matthias Noell, Wasmuth & Zohlen, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burg-Enzyklopädie ed. by Matthias Noell, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, encyclopedia, 2015

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

Lectures

Travelling in typographic affairs (virtual lecture)
University of Applied Sciences Salzburg, Austria
25 January 2022

2021

Digital type systems (virtual lecture)
Seminar: Type Design (Pierre Pané-Farré), Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
29 November 2021

Cast Away: Nebiolo’s matrices in Darmstadt
Symposium: “Nebiolo Type Foundry 1869–1978: new critical assessments”, Castello del Valentino. Turin, Italy
17 September 2021

Matrices Reloaded vol. II
Type Thursday, Buchstabenmuseum. Berlin, Germany
12 August 2021

Pre PostScript (virtual lecture)
Seminar: “Interface of Things” (Stella Friedenberger/Benedikt Rottstegge), Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
11 June 2021

2020

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

2019

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

2018

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

2017

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

2016

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

2015

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

2014

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

2013

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

2012

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

Publications

Forthcoming → Ikarus between the worlds, in M. Christe (ed.): Footnotes, issue D, Geneva: La Police, 2022. [ISSN 2504-0413]

Forthcoming → Cast away: Nebiolo matrices in Darmstadt, in The Nebiolo Type Foundry: 1878–1978, Turin, 2022.

Ephemera studies: collection-based research, in A. Berkenbusch (ed.): Every day. Design for people, Halle/Saale: Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design, 2022, pp. 264–269. [ISBN 987-3-86019-160-6]

2021

Global type tour (review of ‘Typographics 21’ with G. Leonidas et al.), in Eye magazine, vol. 27, no. 102, London, 2021, pp. 48–61. [ISSN 0960-779X] → Eye blog here and here.

Fanfare. The expressive blackletter grotesk from Berlin/La linéale gothique expressive de Berlin in T. Huot-Marchand, C. Kirchstetter, J. Knebusch (eds.): Gotico-Antiqua, Proto-Roman, Hybrid. 15th-century types between gothic and roman, Nancy: ANRT and Frankfurt/Main: Poem, 2021, pp. 181–208. [ISBN 978-2-37896-226-5] → abstract

Typeface review: ABC Whyte, ABC Whyte Inktrap, typographica.org, 19 January 2021.

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

2019

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

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

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

2018

Typeface reviews: Alfarn, CarlMarx, Joschmi, Reross, Xants, in Bauhaus, no. 10, vol. 8, Dessau: Stiftung Bauhaus, 2018, pp. 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, Bath/UK: The Old School Press, 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, pp. 28–29. [ISSN 1462-9895]

A brief overview of developments in digital type design, in Yearbook of type, vol. 3, Karlsruhe: Slanted, 2018, pp. 414–417. [ISBN 978-3-9818296-2-4] → republished 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.

2017

Letter stories U–S–A, in: Paper, vol. 2, no. 6, Berlin: p98a, 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: Laurence King, 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.

2016

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

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

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

2015

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, pp. 46–49. [ISBN 978-3-86019-119-4]

Antiqua und Fraktur (p. 27), Cola-Dose (p. 75), Flugverbindung (p. 123), Grotesk (p. 170), Schulpresse (p. 387), Sigillum Burgensis (p. 394), Thomas-Schrift (p. 420), Visitenkarten des Deutschen Geistes (p. 460), in: M. Noell (ed.): Die Burg Giebichenstein in Halle, alphabetisch geordnet. Eine Hochschulenzyklopädie, Halle/Saale 2015. [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, pp. 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.

2014

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

Why letterpress today, in: Print Magazine, vol. 69, no. 1, Cincinnati 2015, pp. 38–39.

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

2013

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, pp. 56–67. [ISBN 978-3-939028-35-2]

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

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, pp. 25–28.



Interviews and features

German-Japanese typography, Page #8, 2022, pp. 92–94.

Bauhaus type, 日本経済新聞/Nikkei, 8 Dec. 2019, p. 11.

Bauhaus type 美しい書体こそ、デザインの原点だ (transl. by Hideko Kawachi), Pen Magazine #471, 2019, pp. 46–47.

Bauhaus type, Page #10, 2018, pp. 75–79.

30 Gestalter unter 30, Page #11, 2016, p. 36.

At work with Ferdinand Ulrich, FontShop, 16 Dec. 2015.

Remembering Hermann Zapf, Creative Characters #94, June 2015.

Hunt Roman, Novum #10, 2013, pp. 30–31.

Hunt Roman, Typoversity #2, 2013, pp. 56–65.

Hunt Roman は、元々, TYPO Talks, 19 May 2013.

Vier Fragen an Ferdinand Ulrich, TYPO Talks, 28 March 2013.

Academic teaching and research

Spring 2021 · Guest critic, Interface of Things seminar, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (invited by Stella Friedenberger and Benedikt Rottstegge)

2019/20 · Visiting lecturer (interim for Prof. Ulrich Schwarz) with Henrike Uthe, 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 · Assistant professor, 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

Contact

moc.hcirludnanidref@liam
Travelling and work → @ferdinandulrich
Glimpses of PhD research → @digitaltype
Rare tweets → @fpeulrich
Elsewhere → Academia, GitHub, Medium, Vimeo
Member of ATypI, Bauhaus Archive and Letterform Archive