DIN typeface gets its name from Deutsches Institut für Normung, (German Institute of Standardization) and it was developed in 1931 from the font created in 1906 by the Preußische Bahnverwaltung (Prussian Railway Administration) for its own use.
Named DIN 1451, the font was defined in 1931 and in 1936 became the standard font for german railroads, highway, road signs, and car license plates.
The 1936 standard included 3 font variants: Engschrift (condensed), Mittelschrift (regular), and Breitschrift (extended).
Engschrift and Mittelschrift are still used to this day, with only minor changes, and are also used outside of Germany as road signs. Breitschrift was used for locality name signs, but was discontinued. Old signs can still be found occasionally. Since November 1, 2000 german car license plates replaced DIN with a specially designed anti-forgery font (FE-Schrift).
In this article you can download the DIN 1451 fonts (also known as Alte DIN 1451 because they’re digitalizations of the original standard font), as well as modern DIN variants.
All the fonts offered for download in this article are free for both personal and commercial use, licensed under SIL Open Font License → Font licenses explained.
Free DIN 1451 fonts
DIN 1451 Mittelschrift
In OpenType-compatible software, ß used between uppercase letters is automatically replaced by the larger form.
You can download the free font or purchase DIN 1451 Pro Mittelschrift
DIN 1451 Mittelschrift gepraegt (bold)
DIN 1451 Breitschrift (extended)
Bretischrift literally translates to “wide font”, and it’s the extended version of DIN 1451.
DIN 1451 Engschrift (condensed)
Engschrift literally translates to “narrow font”, and it’s the condensed version of DIN 1451. Unfortunately, there’s no legal free digital condensed version of 1451 available anywhere. Peter Wiegel re-created Mittelschrift and Breitschrift only.
You can download the OSP-DIN variant below (see “Free modern DIN fonts” section) or purchase pro version DIN 1451 Pro Engschrift (pictured above)
DIN 1451-4 Schriftform H (08.1987)
This is the version “Serifenlose Schablonenschrift für Gravuren und andere Verfahren” (template sans-serif font for engraving and other procedures), where Mittelschrift has form H and square ends. Its narrowness and the angular ends that increase legibility make it particularly suitable for its purpose.
It has extensive language support (Latin Extended and Greek).
Free modern DIN fonts
A modern DIN font family by Datto, it includes no less than 8 variants: Regular, Italic, Bold, Condensed, Condensed Bold, Expanded, Expanded Italic, Expanded Bold.
DIN Schablonierschrift Cracked
A distressed (cracked) stencil DIN variant that very well simulates paint. Created by Peter Wiegel.
A condensed variant adapted after standard documentations from 1932. Created by OSP Foundry. Language support limited to Basic Latin.
Free multilanguage DIN fonts (Greek, Cyrillic)
Europa Mittelschrift has a wide language support, covering Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic alphabets. Created by Peter Wiegel. Includes some ligatures (OpenType feature).
A Cyrillic pro version is also available for purchase: DIN 1451 Pro Cyrillic
Free DIN alternatives
Gidole has support for Latin Extended and Greek.
Preußische Musterzeichnung IV44
This is the original font created by the Prussian Railway Administration in 1906, from which DIN was created three decades later.
TGL 0-1451 Engschrift
Before the german reunification, DIN was the standard authority in West Germany, so DIN 1451 was a West German standard. The East German standard counterpart was TGL 0-1451 and this is the font modeled after that standard. Created by Peter Wiegel.
My biggest Thank You for Peter Wiegel for the fonts digitization and restauration. Without his work, this article wouldn’t have been possible.