I was reading this other question in GD.SE and suddenly realized that I don't know what exactly defines a technical typeface. It is very clear to me what defines a serif / sans-serif / cursive, but how can I describe a technical font like FF Din or Eurostile or the others depicted below? Or am I just digging too much and these are simply "geometrical" sans-serif fonts?





  • 4
    AFAIK 'technical' isn't really an established classification. Just a verb you could use to describe a typeface, and not a very well defined one (in terms of typefaces) at that.
    – Cai
    Apr 14, 2016 at 15:16
  • @CAI i would argue there is.
    – joojaa
    Apr 15, 2016 at 8:58
  • If you search for 'technical fonts' you get something very different.
    – Cai
    Apr 15, 2016 at 9:02
  • @joojaa I agree with your definition, but I don't expect everyone does (seen from that search result). I've not seen any authority use 'technical' as a general classification for fonts. It may be used in certain contexts but not universally.
    – Cai
    Apr 15, 2016 at 9:06
  • 1
    @joojaa that's a fair argument. Like I said, I actually agree with your definition I just don't think it's a generally accepted definition.
    – Cai
    Apr 15, 2016 at 9:57

1 Answer 1



technical /teknək(ə)l/

  • Involving, or as used in applied and industrial sciences.

A Technical font

Technical would be a standardized font for drawing technical documents, road signage, license plates etc. Or a font that mimics technical lettering. This is not widely known definition but it is defined enough to have a semi accurate meaning, just do not expect all graphics designers agree with this.

Examples of this would be osifont which is a font based on the ISO 3098 standard which defines how letters are to be drawn in technical drawings. Technical drawings should use a font based on this specification, sometimes mandated to use. The idea is that anybody can construct a font like this. Also they were originally hand lettered. Different counties used to have their own standards.

enter image description here

Image 1: Lettering font as defined by standard.

DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) also happens to be the name of the German standardization organization. First DIN fonts (DIN 1451) were originally commissioned 1936 for road and railway signage. And have many variants and standards related to them. Does not get much more technical than standardization, right. (the font standard is available here)

So the fonts have a very engineeringly background. And possibly quite many fonts have been influenced by direct standards work.

  • Unfortunately i no longer have access to standards for free so i can not show a sample of the contents in DIN 1451-2 for example. If anybody does a picture would be nice
    – joojaa
    Apr 15, 2016 at 9:16
  • something from here perhaps?
    – Luciano
    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:35
  • @Luciano Yes but its not a first hand source.
    – joojaa
    Apr 15, 2016 at 10:36
  • This is the answer. Googling "technical fonts" will bring up, more often than not, "technicalish" fonts. When I was a wee lad, and took "Drafting," one of the first lessons was how to draw letters.
    – Yorik
    Apr 15, 2016 at 13:46

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