Dating back to the early part of the 20th century, the DIN type style is the original “industrial-strength” sans serif design. Its name is an acronym for the German “Deutsches Institut für Normung” (German Institute for Standardization), and DIN was first used to identify railroad cars in Germany. The FF-DIN™ typeface family is based on the original German Standards Organization font number DIN 1451, which was commissioned for use in German public administration and signage. FF-DIN, drawn by Albert-Jan Pool, takes the original DIN 1451 design, revives it for digital typesetting and enlarges the family to 20 variations.
In conversations with typeface designer Erik Spiekermann, Pool found himself in a discussion about ideas for new typefaces. As a result, he became convinced of the potential market for new versions of typefaces that are widely known and in daily use – but are also limited in the number of widths and styles. Pool first reworked the OCR B™ typeface family and then moved on to address the limited range of digitized fonts in the DIN family. Pool set about making a redesign of DIN 1451 that included five weights, each with italic styles to accompany the roman designs. He also took the opportunity to enlarge the basic character set by adding characters such as the i with a round dot instead of the older, square-dot design. Although a seemingly minor change, this added better visibility to the lettering when set at small sizes. These changes also improved DIN’s use in signage, preventing confusion between the l and i when viewed from a distance.
FF DIN has proven to be a popular replacement for DIN 1451 and it has continued to benefit from enhancements such as the addition of condensed and rounded versions – in addition to increased language support, and several OpenType® font format features.
The availability of wide versions of FF-DIN has made it a valuable tool for headlines and other large copy. The narrower designs are also excellent choices when space is at a premium.
FF-DIN has found its way into many corners of the world of print. The typeface is used by Adidas worldwide and has been used in brands including Panasonic and other internationally recognized corporations.