FF DIN supports 179 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, Russian, German, French and Greek in Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)
On the way back to the airport from the 1994 ATypI conference in San Francisco, Albert-Jan Pool and Erik Spiekermann discussed Pool’s prospects, Spiekermann knowing that his friend’s employer had just gone out of business. He suggested that if Pool wanted to make some money in type design, that he take a closer look at neglected faces such as OCR and DIN. This seemed strange to Pool, but one year later, FontFont published his FF OCR-F typeface, followed closely by FF DIN.
Spiekermann was acutely aware of the lack of options for designers wanting to use these kinds of typefaces. Digital DIN fonts were available at the time, but only in two weights of purely geometric shapes. Pool designed a family of five weights. He added true italics and also some alternative characters such as “i” and “j” with round dots, and oldstyle figures. In time, five weights grew to seven, and a condensed width was added, as well as Greek and Cyrillic language support.
In form, FF DIN differs from previous versions primarily in its optical adjustments—horizontal and vertical strokes are better balanced and overall its curves are smoother. Despite its primitive, technical appearance and a clear reference to German motorway signage, FF DIN quickly became a phenomenon. The typeface has pervaded corporate and publication typography, and can be seen in posters for cultural institutions.
In 2011, the Museum of Modern Art in New York added to its permanent collection its first digital typefaces. Due in part perhaps to the immense popularity gained by FF DIN since its release in the mid-1990s, it was one of just 23 designs to be included. FF DIN debuted at MoMA as part of the “Standard Deviations” installation in the contemporary design gallery.