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Chris Campe fotografiert von Norman Posselt

Chris Campe, photo by Norman Posselt

About Chris Campe

Resume in prose

Professional Training

There were two bookstores in Walsrode: one with school supplies and one selling Literature, with a capital L. Guess in which of the two I did an apprenticeship as a bookseller after graduating from high school.

Across the street from the Literature bookstore was the editorial office of the Walsroder Zeitung. I always wanted to write, so one day I crossed the street and stammered, »I’m an apprentice at the bookshop, could I write book reccommendations for you?!«

So I learned to write and take pictures as a reporter for the local paper at a rate of 20 pfennigs a line and 20 marks a picture. Along the way, I became so good at writing proposal prose that I lived abroad on scholarship four times, most recently as a Fulbright Scholar in Chicago.


After my apprenticeship I wanted to go to university, but I couldn’t decide – journalism or design? In the end, drawing was the only thing I kept trying, even though I was never satisfied with my results. And because all the great picture books in the bookstore came from the University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg, I went there to study illustration.

But somehow I found the course superficial. I didn’t want to talk about image composition, but about what I was doing when I was making pictures – was I just depicting reality or was I creating it?

To explore this question, after I got my diploma, I went on to study Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Above all this meant: reading Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes, for four semesters, in every course, in English.

Professional Life

After getting my master’s degree, I worked as a freelance graphic designer for companies and publishing houses, including the dpa subsidiary News Aktuell and Gruner+Jahr.

In 2014, I founded my studio All Things Letters and decided to specialize in lettering, because when I do lettering I don’t have to decide between writing and designing and can work on form and content at the same time.

Since then, I’ve been designing everything with letters for publishers, agencies, and companies. I wrote six book about lettering and type design, and together with three friends I co-founded Berlin Letters festival. I also share my knowledge in workshops, lectures and on social media.

Resume in passport photos

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Sports club, 1989

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Railcard, 1990

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Job application, 1993

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Job application with soft focus, 1993

Passfoto von Chris Campe

US driver’s license, 1995

Passfoto von Chris Campe

German driver’s license, 1996

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Job application, 1996

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Application for my apprenticeship, 1997

Passfoto von Chris Campe

youth group leader card, 1998

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Student ID just before graduation, 1998

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Job application, 1998

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Job application, 1998

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Application for the german-french exchange program for booksellers, 2000

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Application Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, 2001

Passfoto von Chris Campe

International Student-ID, 2004

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Passport, 2005

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Carte Orange – Public Transport in Paris, 2005

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Student-ID École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 2005

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Bewerbung Fulbright-Stipendium, 2009

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Visa for the US, 2010

Passfoto von Chris Campe


Passfoto von Chris Campe

Visa for the US, 2011

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Student-ID School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2010

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Visa for India, 2012

Passfoto von Chris Campe

New identity card, 2015

Passfoto von Chris Campe

Website update, 2021

Small Print




in the artist book series 100for10
Melville Brand Design, Munich
1. edition 2020

Designing Fonts

An Introduction to Professional Type Design
ISBN 978-0-500-24155-4
Thames & Hudson, London
1. edition 2020

German edition:

Making Fonts!

Verlag Hermann Schmidt
ISBN: 978-3-87439-909-8
1. edition 2019

Praxisbuch Brush Lettering

Handlettering mit dem Brushpen – Schritt für Schritt von den Grundlagen zum eigenen Stil
ISBN 978-3-95845-706-5
mitp Verlag, Frechen
1. edition 2018

Handbuch Handlettering

Eigene Buchstaben und illustrative Schrift gestalten
Haupt Verlag, Bern
ISBN 978-3-259-60165-6
2. edition 2018

Toller Ort

Hamburgs best shops and addresses
Junius Verlag, Hamburg
ISBN 978-3-88506-035-2
2. edition 2017

Hamburg Alphabet

Hamburger Ladenschilder von A bis Z
Junius Verlag, Hamburg
ISBN 978-3-88506-466-4
1. edition 2010

updated new edition
1. edition 2020
selfpublished, please order via mail


In 2015 und 2016 I was part of the editorial teams for TYPO Berlin and wrote articles for the conference blog. Because the conference was discontinued and the website has been taken down, unfortunately these are no longer available.

More Articles

Was macht eigentlich …?

Ladenschilder in Hamburg
2009 und 2019
in Typotopografie magazine, issue 10
August Dreesbach Verlag, 2019
ISBN 978-3-96395-016-2

Girls Go First?

Gender Representation in Illustration
in Varoom, the Illustration Report, Autumn 2014, issue 27

drawing queer space: the kind of activism drawings do

in Shift: Graduate Journal of Visual and Material Culture, issue 4, 10. 2011


Group exhibitions

Domestic Utopias

curated by Julia Bonn, Stefan Endewardt, and others
ngbk, Berlin
15. 06. to 28. 07. 2013

And Then She’s Like/ And He Goes

curated by Chris Campe
A+D Gallery, Chicago
09. 08. to 10. 09. 2012

The Great Refusal:
Taking On New Queer Aesthetics

curated by Oli Rodriguez
Sullivan Galleries, Chicago
24. 08. to 12. 10. 2012

Oh mein Wort!

curated by Timo Frank
Frappant, Hamburg
08. 2010


2010-2012 Fulbright-Scholar as an M.A. student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

2001 and 2005 scholarship from the Franco-German Youth Office

2001 scholarship from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association


Illustratoren Organisation e.V.

Professional association for German-speaking illustrators

Buchstabenmuseum Berlin e.V.

Association and museum for the preservation and documentation of letters


Informal network for women in type design, lettering and typography


Design lectures

Lettering or Fonts?!

Online lecture with mit Ulrike Rausch on the topic »Purpose«
Creative Mornings Berlin
17. 4. 2020
Watch the lecture


Ladies, Wine & Design Berlin
30. 10. 2019

Lettering Hacks

Berlin Letters Festival
17. 05. 2019

How to be Bold

Ladies, Wine & Design Hamburg
18. 06. 2018

Says who?

TYPO Berlin
18. 05. 2018

Tun, was man nicht kann

TYPO Berlin
24. 05. 2017

Is This Just Fantasy

Lecture in the series »Spezial Material«
University of Applied Sciences Hamburg
17. 05. 2017

The Alphabet of Good Advice

Guest lecture for BTK Berlin
10. 12. 2015


Pecha Kucha Night Hamburg, Imperialtheater
18. 02. 2015

Ein Haus, ein Baum, ein Buch

Pecha Kucha Night Hamburg, St. Johanniskirche
20. 11. 2013

An A is an a is an a

Pecha Kucha Night, Buchstabenmuseum Berlin
16. 03. 2013

Lectures at Academic Conferences

Girls Go First?

Negotiating Gender Representation in Contemporary Illustration

VaroomLab Symposium, Arts University Bournemouth
18. 09. 2014

The Male-Female-Fuck-You Drawing:
About the Role of Illustration in Queer-Feminist Communities

3. Illustration Research Symposium, Ethnographic Museum Krakow
08. 01. 2012

Queering Life Drawing: Sexuality, Queer Failure and the In-Between

Queertopia! 4.0: Queer(ing) Poetics: Text, Method, Movement, Thought; Northwestern University
28. 05. 2011

drawing queer space:
the kind of activism drawings do

Making Space – Annual Art History Graduate Student Conference; Concordia University, Montréal
12. 03. 2011


Fachhochschule Potsdam

Lettering im Skizzenbuch

lettering experiments in the sketchbook
summer semester 2021

HAW Hamburg


Intro to Typography for first semester illustration students
summer semester 2020 and 2021

Na typisch!
Identität und visuelle Darstellung

Lektüreseminar Kunst- und Designgeschichte
summer semester 2014

Über die Bedingungen des Sehens

Lektüreseminar Kunst- und Designgeschichte
winter semester 2014

Oh, wie praktisch — Theorie!

Lektüreseminar Kunst- und Designgeschichte
summer semester 2013

Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel

Handlettering und illustrative Schrift

one week seminar during the project week
03. 2017

btk Hamburg

Editoriale Illustration

practical illustration course
summer semester 2015


narrative lettering

one week seminar during the project week
12. 2014


Learn Lettering, German Style

TypeCon, Minneapolis
29. 08. 2019

Brush Lettering Like A Pro

Berlin Letters Festival
18. 05. 2019

Brush Lettering Basics

Sketchnote Barcamp Hannover
02. 11. 2018

Brush Lettering Like A Pro

TYPO Berlin, 17. 05. 2018