by Frank Grießhammer
Hi! My name is Frank Grießhammer, and starting February, I am part of the Adobe Type Team.
Wow! I never would have imagined writing this sentence one day, and to some extent, this fact still feels unbelievable for me. Definitely, I did not see that coming.
I was born in Nürnberg, Germany and grew up in Hof. During school, I discovered that I had a talent for languages, so I took the chance to learn a fair amount of English, French and Italian. I focused my graduation on French and the Arts, and decided to study communication design close to the French border – at HBKsaar in Saarbrücken.
From the very beginning of my studies, I felt that typography was one of the most important subjects in design. Luckily, I enrolled in the university during a period of change. I could experience different viewpoints and solutions on typography, and I was able to shape my own opinions.
After spending a semester at ISIA Firenze, where I was able to work on my Italian skills among other things, I graduated with a project that involved starting my own type label ‘Kiosk Fonts’. It featured fonts that were not so much technically perfect, but conceptually sound. Also, it was to be a platform for typefaces that were produced by HBKsaar students, but otherwise would never see the light of day. A special focus was set on the overall presentation, involving designing in-use samples, packaging and specimens. At this point, I would like to thank Indra Kupferschmid, who is a very encouraging teacher and fully supported the project.
Although I had worked with type quite some time, my skills were limited. After graduation, I consequently started a revival of ‘Elan’ (Hans Möhring, D. Stempel AG, 1936), in order to learn how to tackle the challenges of a connected script, to translate the shapes into digital form, and to work with more complex OpenType features. The Klingspor Museum Offenbach, as well as Hans Reichardt from Linotype were indispensable resources for me.
In an internship with FontShop International in Berlin, I really had a great insight into the work of type production. More importantly, I learned that only nice people work in the type business, so I felt comfortable and right at home. All the skills I acquired are invaluable, one thing was most important, though: spontaneously, I decided to join an excursion with my colleagues to the Robothon 2009 conference at KABK The Hague. It was there that my eyes really opened widely, and that I instantly fell in love with the university. I enjoyed the unique atmosphere, and got to know some of the very nice type]media students. Although I had known about the master course before, I never would have thought of being accepted. Now I knew it definitely was the right thing for me, and that I should at least try it.
After a summer of freelance design work in Berlin, I finally got the admission letter from KABK – I never felt happier before. I was so excited to start, to meet my fellow students and to learn as much as I could about type.
Studying type]media, my high expectations were even exceeded. All the amazing classes and lectures made me just submerge into the world of type. The combination of subjects is awesome – from stone carving to python scripting – it is the mix of analogue and digital techniques that make the course so special. I enjoyed each of the classes, worked as much as possible, and seriously spent the best year of my life in The Hague. Learning from so many different teachers and the input from multiple sides makes the program a really unique experience.
In my graduation project ‘Quixo’ I set myself to study the characteristics of different brush tools and their influence on letter shapes. I planned my type family to perform in both display and text settings, and enjoyed the opportunity of working on a project that was completely subject to my own decisions. Of course, I owe a lot to the guidance and advice of the excellent type]media teachers, and I’d like to sincerely thank them all.
Straight after graduation, I moved back to Berlin as I had received a call from FSI – help was needed to phase out the PS Type 1 format. I enjoyed this assignment very much, as it involved meeting my old colleagues, and working with the most obscure FontFonts. In the meantime, my self-initiated revival project had been released by Linotype as ‘Stempel Elan’, recently it was even mentioned in the CR Type Annual.
As I knew that Type 1 fonts would not last forever, I was constantly looking out for job opportunities, until I found the position advertised on this blog one day. It was more jokingly that I thought “They are never going to take me, the visa alone would be too expensive – but I should at least give it a try!”
Well, now here I am sitting in my office, working almost for a month now, actually having more important things to do than writing this text. One thing is important though: I want to thank everyone at Adobe who believed in me and made all this possible. I really enjoy being part of a great team and I am looking forward to contributing to great projects now and in the future.
P.S.: Tailored to a type-blog, this introduction of myself is rather type-heavy. For those who want to know, though: Yes, I also have other hobbies. I enjoy photography, preferably shooting film in novel, obsolete cameras. And I have a collection of adapters.