Pool Tells the Story of the New FF DIN Round, A Typeface Much More Than a Rounded DIN

Is there any type designer who would be better qualified to construct a rounded DIN than Albert-Jan Pool? It’s safe to say no. There are three reasons for it. First of all, FF DIN is “his typeface”. For almost 20 years, Pool has dedicated himself to the history of German standard lettering with scientific ambitions, and in 1995 he created the FF DIN basic weights. To this day, he has been combing through museums, archives, and studios to learn everything about this category of typefaces. Today, even the Berlin-based German Institute for Standardization (DIN) relies on his expertise.

ffdinround_ajp_130Secondly, Pool is a perfectionist. Long ago he realized that his internationally popular FF DIN would be incomplete without a rounded version. That it has taken so long was due to his own quality requirements. For more than 5 years, Pool worked on DIN Round again and again and dismissed countless intermediate stages. With the active support of FontFont’s TypeDepartment he eventually managed to complete the family.

Finally, Albert-Jan Pool originates from a type talent hotbed as it doesn’t exist anymore today. He grew up with the Ikarus type design and production software, developed by Hamburg-based physicist Dr. Peter Karow in 1975 and introduced at ATypI in Warsaw for the first time. In the eighties, practically all typefaces from foundries like Linotype, Berthold, ITC, or Monotype were vectorized using the precise Ikarus software.

ffdinround_roundpieces
FF DIN Round’s ‘round pieces’. In spite of all the rationalisation and standardization, over 50 different components had to be designed for each of the five weights.

In his book ‘Digital Formats of Typefaces’ from 1987 Karow revealed one of the last secrets of perfect roundings in letters digitized with Ikarus: the transitions from curves, named clothoids in the technical terminology. Besides that, Ikarus made it easy to construct letters as it allowed to define modules. And just these two approaches — precision and modularity — enabled Albert-Jan Pool to create the best possible DIN round version, the 5-weight family released this month as FF DIN Round.

Pool has been written a 32-page brochure with the fascinating history of round sans serifs in Germany and the behind-the-scenes development of FF DIN Round. Download the PDF (3.7MB) or via Issuu below.

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1 Comment:

  1. there’s something wrong on page 24, the labels on the samples are switched, where says “FF Din Round Light” should be “FF Din Light” and vice-versa, also on the Black samples.

    cheers!

    Posted by santiago orozco on Jul. 29, 2010

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