Things in Use

Some weeks ago I was interviewed for one of these Uses-This websites. Here is what I use as of December 2013.


Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Indra Kupferschmid, a typographer and professor at the University of Arts Saarbrücken in Germany, right at the border to France. I design with type, look at type, research type, talk, write and consult about type. I think about webfonts, rendering and onscreen typography every day. Sometimes I make bitmap fonts. I’m involved in Type RecordFonts In UseWebtype, DIN committees and books, for instance Helvetica Forever. I have a 21-year-long love–hate relationship with type classification systems.

What hardware do you use?

A Mac Book Pro 13 Retina, and the previous Mac Book Pro 13 for things that require an older OS. iPhone, iPad Mini, [cut the rest of my Apple graveyard *], 4 magic mice, 3 extended Apple USB keyboards (because two apartments, two studios), all adapters and cables under the sun, an Olympus EP-1, a fat Epson scanner I forget the name of, a 21 year old AKAI stereo and a Dual record player.

I love writing with mechanical pencils, not because they’re erasable or not-black though. I just like how they flow over paper. Speedball C-Series and Mitchell Round Hand broad nibs, Brause EF 66 and Brause Steno pointed nibs for calligraphy. I mostly use the backside of printouts or recycled paper. (I’m an old member of the eco- and peace movement, a cold war kid grown up near the inner German border.)

Deutsche Bahn railways, striped clothes, Camper shoes, Dr. Bronner’s soapBodum french press coffee, Alnatura muesli (or is this software?). I’m an ultralight travel evangelist. Even multi-week trips have to fit into my Accelerate 30.

* Original iPod, 2 iPod Touch, 2 iPod Shuffle (Stick and clip), Powerbook Titanium, Macbook Pro, Original iPad, whatnot periphery stuff.

And what software?

I guess I’m spending most time in a browser these days, mostly Safari, with browser-based “software” like WordPress, Basecamp, the backends of website I contribute to. And of course Mail (no love for browser-mail), and iChat/Messages (no love for other chat though Messages is a mess, Apple.). Echofon for twitters. TextEdit and Writer for text, Preview, QuarkXpress (PDFs for presentations), Coda, Robofont, Netnewswire, Image Capture, tools like iCal etc. Dropbox to work across devices and continents. I hardly use Adobe applications, only Illustrator which I don’t like but didn’t find a good replacement for yet and use when I have to exchange files with co-workers. I prefer to draw vector-only graphics like logos in Fontographer. On iOS: Instapaper, Podcasts, IM+,, Google Maps, Kayak. iTunes, vpro’s Luisterpaal (stream) and Lastfm for music.

What would be your dream setup?

A Mac Book Pro 15  Retina that is as small as the 13″ when I carry it around. Getting iChat back. Free wifi that works, where you need it. My favourite books in lightweight mini format, or a dropbox for books, alternatively. And a book scanner, for Type Record. Sometimes I feel like I’d like to get a small projector but in the end I’m watching most things on my phone or iPad. And I want a Europe-wide annual pass for all railways and public transport.

Where does your work inspiration come from? 

Type specimen books, looking out of the window, looking around me. Running (thus probably oxygen).


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