Spiekermann joins Union in new rm

Berlin consultancy MetaDesign, led by the renowned typographer Erik Spiekermann, has joined London consultancy Union Design to launch a new UK venture, MetaUnion Design. The launch gives MetaDesign a base in London, the city that Spiekermann worked in almost continuously from 1973 to 1981. Union’s nine existing staff transfer to the new company which was launched on Tuesday.

MetaUnion is the third arm of Spiekermann’s international group. MetaWest was formed in 1992 in San Francisco. It now employs some 20 staff. Together with the 80 employed by MetaDesign in Berlin, the group now totals around 110. Of the London venture, Spiekermann says: “This was a natural step for us, a necessary development of our business. We have an increasing number of clients for whom a presence in London, Europe’s graphic design capital, is essential.”

Union was formed in 1991 by Robin Richmond and Tim Fendley. Both will become directors and owners of MetaUnion alongside Spiekermann.

Fendley says Union and MetaDesign “share a common culture”. Richmond adds: “It’s very exciting. For Union, the joint venture will give the support we need to grow.”

Spiekermann says he relishes the prospect of competing with UK design groups: “In Germany we don’t have any competition. This is a proper, full-scale, working operation and a European design studio expanding into Britain – it’s usually the other way round.” He expects MetaUnion’s staff to expand to 16.

The first project is thought to be an international identity for a pharmaceuticals giant. MetaUnion declines to comment further, but staff from San Francisco and Berlin will collaborate in London.

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