DIN is a 100-year-old typeface that was in dire need of a makeover – and Linotype’s Akira Kobayashi has done just that. Originally available in only two weights, the DIN Next™ typeface enlarges the family to 25 designs, perfectly suited for today’s digital typesetting needs.
The history of the DIN Next typeface design is long and storied. The original DIN 1451 typeface was based on 1905 master drawings for an alphabet used by the Prussian railroad as a means of standardization. Later, the typeface’s use was extended to the rest of the German railway system. Gradually, DIN 1451 was also used for road signs and a variety of engineering applications.
DIN, an acronym for the “German Deutsches Institut für Normung” (German Institute for Standardization), was used for industrial applications for decades. DIN was not used much by graphic designers until the late 1980s and, for many years, only the two basic weights were available. In 2009, Akira Kobayashi, Linotype’s type director, gave this venerable sans serif new life. To distinguish the DIN Next typeface from its older brethren, Kobayashi developed a new family of seven weights, from light to black, each having complementary italic and condensed counterparts. Also available are four rounded designs, bringing the new family’s total to 25 typefaces.
Several aspects of the original DIN typeface design were changed, including the corner angles, which, instead of being squared off, were redesigned with a slight rounding. Additionally, a suite of small capitals, old style figures, subscript, superscript and several alternate characters (for example, uppercase C and G as well as “slashed” versions of the capital Z and the figure 7) were designed to complement the new typeface.
The DIN Next family provides graphic communicators with a typeface to fit virtually any project requirement. DIN Next, like its inspiration, DIN 1451, is a highly effective typeface for print use – particularly headlines. It is also a bold, “honest” face for logotype.