Ferdinand Ulrich is a typographer, design researcher and editor. He is a designer at p98a berlin, where he works with Erik Spiekermann on editorial design projects and spends much time experimenting, printing and teaching workshops in the letterpress studio.

In his Berlin-based studio he designs books and writes articles on type history. His research has been published in the Journal of the Printing Historical Society (UK), in Parenthesis (US) and in the Journal für Druckgeschichte (Germany), among others. Since 2013 he regularly writes type reviews and essays on type history for Monotype’s Fontshop​.com.

From 2012 to 2015 he was an assistant lecturer at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle. He has given guest lectures at the Cooper Union and at the School of Visual Arts, New York City/​NY, at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh/​PA and at the MIT Media Lab, Cambridge/​MA. In 2016 he gave the closing lecture at TYPO Berlin conference, honoring the lifetime achievement of Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse.

Ferdinand studied visual communication at UdK Berlin and at CMU in Pittsburgh. In 2012 he received a graduate degree for his research on Hermann Zapf’s unique typeface Hunt Roman.


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?
(symposium also 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
(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
Theory of Media 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


Крат­кая ис­то­рия гео­мет­ри­че­ских гро­те­сков
в не­мец­кой куль­ту­ре
(translated and edited by Eugene Yukechev and Anastasia Minasova) on: type​jour​nal​.ru, 15 February 2017

Futura und ihr Umfeld (with Erik Spiekermann), in: P. Eisele/​A. Ludwig/​I. Naegele (eds.): Futura. Die Schrift, Mainz 2016, p. 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]

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

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

Neue Demos (typeface review), on: Stephen Coles (ed.): typo​graph​ica​.org, 9 May 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, p. 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]

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

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, p. 58 – 69 [ISBN 978 – 3-86019 – 107-1]

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, p. 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, p. 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, p. 14 – 18 [ISSN 1462 – 9895]

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]

Hunt Roman. A unique type (typeface review), on: Stephen Coles (ed.): typo​graph​ica​.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

Selected articles for Monotype on FontShop​.com

Interview with Mark Schütz on Neue Kabel
(camera by Norman Posselt, post production by Sanjeev Hathiramani)
January 2017

Why we need a new Kabel
16 November 2016

The perception of black & white and the effect of contrast
22 August 2016 

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

Stencil alphabets: Interrupted strokes and divided shapes
9 March 2016 

Mixing type — Part 1: Macro
23 February 2016 

A round of applause for well-rounded type talent — Part 3
3 June 2015 

A round of applause for well-rounded type talent — Part 2
13 May 2015 

A round of applause for well-rounded type talent — Part 1
31 March 2015 

The 100 Best Posters of Burg Giebichenstein
30 January, 2015 

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

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

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

Press coverage

TYPO Berlin 2016 (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 (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

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

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

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

Remembering Hermann Zapf. 1918 — 2015, (interview by Jan Middendorp) Creative Characters. The faces behind the fonts, myfonts​.com, vol. 94, June 2015

Lunchtime Lecture: Ferdinand Ulrich, (review by Allison Ryder) con​tin​u​umin​no​va​tion​.com, Boston 2014

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

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

Ferdinand Ulrich: Hunt Roman — Touching Type, (review by Toshiya Izumo) typotalks​.com, Berlin 2013

Hunt Roman Genealogy, (review) 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/​b​e​r​l​i​n​/​d​e​/blog, Berlin 2013


2016 Lecturer (typography and letterpress), University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

since 2015 Instructor (letterpress), Berlin University of the Arts

since 2013 Instructor (letterpress), p98a berlin

2012 — 2015 Assistant lecturer (editorial design and typography) of Prof. Anna Berkenbusch, Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle

2011 — 2012 Teaching assistant (visual systems) of Prof. David Skopec, Berlin University of the Arts

2010 — 2011 Teaching assistant (information design) of guest professor Severin Wucher, Berlin University of the Arts