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I need a websafe alternative to DIN font. It needs to be free for commercial use. Anyone know of a good one?

11 Answers 11

35

The situation has changed since this question was first asked in 2012.

Alte Din

There is now an OFL-licensed, completely free/libre version of DIN called Alte DIN.

This is legal because DIN 1451 is a product of the German government, and so is in the public domain -- only the individual interpretations of it by various font foundries are protected and copyrighted. Thankfully Peter Weigel traced it for us!

D-DIN

A corporation called 'Datto' commissioned Monotype to create a DIN-like font which was released in 2018 under the SIL OFL 1.1.

Original answer:

I don't know how close you need to come to the DIN typeface, but I found a couple possibles on Google Web Fonts. Using the letters aGgQqlJ to narrow down the letter shape matches, I found:

Wire One - https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Wire+One

The lowercase letter shapes are quite similar. The overall font is a bit more more condensed than DIN and some of the capital letter shapes are different.

Abel - https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Abel

Also, not an exact match but the feel is quite similar.

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  • 1
    None of these come close. – Clarus Dignus Jan 26 '16 at 16:29
  • Subsequently: Alte DIN is very good. Adding a link to 'D-DIN' (released 2018 under the SIL OFL). – whiskeychief Jul 22 at 15:58
  • It's unfortunate these free Peter Wiegel versions came out just late enough to have missed DIN's spike in popularity ;-) – thomasrutter Aug 11 at 6:25
7

There's an open source DIN-inspired font called Gidole:

Gidole

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6

Cabin is a pretty good free alternative to DIN. Well, it may be fairly different in design but bear with me - sometimes it can feel as if it is similar:

DIN:

DIN 1451

Cabin:

Cabin

Dosis is a pretty good free alternative to FF DIN Round if you were interested in a rounded version.

Also, League Gothic could be a decent alternative to DIN Engschrift (ie DIN "compressed") though it has slightly less of a "German" feel to it.

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  • I'm so sad that these nice fonts like Cabin do not support Hungarian language. (DIN has a CE version which includes Hungarian accented characters) – szajmon Feb 16 '14 at 17:39
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    Dosis is an excellent match. The "v" of the "M" is a little higher in Dosis but otherwise a very decent alternative and superior to all the other answers thus far. This should be selected as the correct answer. – Clarus Dignus Jan 26 '16 at 16:33
  • The middle leg of "E" is shorter in Dosis too however the variation of the M and E combined with the subtle roundedness of Dosis makes for one of the rare cases where font substitution is an improvement on the original. Lowercase matches very decently too. – Clarus Dignus Jan 26 '16 at 16:49
  • the r in the Turnstile font screenshot above is quite hideous, imho. – Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Mar 10 '18 at 16:10
4

Here's a bolder version inspired by DIN:

ROPA SANS - https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Ropa+Sans

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3

Try Gesta from Typekit. I's very similar. https://typekit.com/fonts/gesta

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  • Not really. Many stylistic nuances that differ. Dosis is a much better recommendation. – Clarus Dignus Jan 26 '16 at 16:54
2

"Oswald" font is a pretty good alternative. It's a google web font, so it's the best possibility for websites ;-)

https://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Oswald

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2

If you have access to Windows fonts, the recently announced Bahnschrift looks to be Microsoft's interpretation of the DIN outlines. In some time it will be available on many computers running Windows and could well be a good, free and close representation of what paid DIN fonts offer.

Our new first OpenType Variable Font Bahnschrift is now included in builds. This new font industry standard enables us to pack an entire typeface family into a single file with infinite variability. No longer are you constrained to simple weights like Light, Regular, and Bold. Now you can have an infinite range of font styles, with smooth interpolation from Light to Bold and beyond. Better still: because a single, efficient variable font can replace several static fonts, variable fonts save a lot of space.

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  • is Bahnschrift free for commercial use, namely to include in a mobile app..? – Rivadiz Aug 15 at 9:34
  • I don't know, but if you find out, feel free to share! I'm not optimistic, if your mobile app will also debut on iOS, since XCode runs on macOS and as stated, the font licence comes with Windows. Might be incompatible. – oelna Aug 16 at 13:37
  • There is currently (2020) a problem with Bahnschrift as provided in Windows 10 where the wrong width will be printed, especially in PDF. This issue has been reported in multiple places -- Sketchup; Microsoft. – whiskeychief Sep 22 at 12:38
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I like Gesta as a stand-in for DIN. It's not actually all that similar (Gesta is more stylized) but the x-height and overall mood seem to match very well.

http://r-typography.com/gesta.html
(webfont on Typekit)

John's suggestion of Abel seems good, too. I haven't compared the fonts very closely, but it's got a DIN feel to it at non-display text sizes with a character width sitting somewhere between Engschrift and Mittelschrift.

http://www.madtype.com/tag/abel/
(webfont on Google Web Fonts)

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1

Titillium Web is also a free alternative:
http://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Titillium+Web

DIN Next from Linotype would be the commercial version with webfonts available:
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/linotype/din-next/

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    Titillium Web is nowhere close when dealing in uppercase. – Clarus Dignus Jan 26 '16 at 16:58
1

TRY roboto .It looks almost like DIN and it comes in so many styles . Its feels really premium. http://www.fontsquirrel.com/fonts/roboto

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  • As good and increasingly popular Roboto is, Dosis is still superior in terms of Google fonts. – Clarus Dignus Jan 26 '16 at 17:02
0

I have used Babel Sans as an alternative to DIN: http://www.dafont.com/babel-sans.font

Although it is bit thin.

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  • Babel Sans is pretty much Arial Narrow, with a few modified figures. – user22869 Apr 29 '14 at 21:52
  • The right leg on "R" is a but too stylistic and the "v" of the "M" is too low. By far, not the worst of the matches suggested to this question however. – Clarus Dignus Jan 26 '16 at 17:00

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