License for DIN-Bold and DIN-Light

ResQ's picture

Hi, I am a research scholar and am currently working with a designer and a publisher on my first academic publication. My question concerns the two fonts used on the cover title – DIN-Bold and DIN-Light. The problem is, I don’t know much about font licensing, but want to be on the right side of the law. I have realized that both my publisher and my designer are reluctant to buy the font licenses themselves, so it is now up to me to do the right thing. My designer asked me that I will have to acquire the license online. I tried to find the font, but there are several different DIN fonts around the web. I can’t figure out which of the many DIN fonts available online are these 2 particular fonts. When I asked my designer to be specific about them, they replied, the font files are named "DINB___.ttf" and "DINL___.ttf", and the info says: “Font Name: DIN-Bold; Version: Altsys Metamorphosis:6/5/02; TrueType Outlines.” Which confused me further. Can anybody guide me to the link of the specific font one needs to buy to fix this? I have found some websites which are offering “DINB___” and “DINL___” fonts to be downloaded for free; does it mean these are free fonts? But I can’t find a website which offer licensing for these 2 specific fonts...?! :(

My second question is: who is responsible for a font used in the cover title anyway – the designer, the publisher or the author? Something tells me its not the author's responsibility, but I might be wrong...? :) Thanks!


Frode Bo Helland's picture

The responsible party is usually the ones using the font file.

Jens Kutilek's picture

The only official DIN Light (& Bold) font I know of is this:

«DIN Pro Light» is the most current version of these fonts. Older versions (PostScript Type 1 or TrueType) have been called just «DIN Light».

The «Altsys Metamorphosis» info entry was probably added by a conversion tool when those fonts were (unofficially) converted to TrueType.

(The DIN family from FontFont is based on the German DIN 1451 standard, the design of which was made by engineers and never included a light weight. That’s why I think you are looking at some version of FF DIN here. There is also DIN Next by Linotype, which is not identical, it has a light weight, but its name always included the «Next» suffix.)

ResQ's picture

Okay, great! First off, thanks a lot, both of you!

@Jens Kutilek - I'm sorry, but this got even more complicated for me. You mean this font is an "unofficial" version? What are the legal implications of using that, then? Do you think buying the license for the "official version" from the link you posted will solve my problem then? I'm sorry, I might be asking really daft questions, but I have no idea whatsoever how it is done!! Thanks :)

David Vereschagin's picture

In this case the designer is most probably the person who needs to license the fonts, as the designer is the person actually using the fonts. But if you are asking the designer to supply you with the designer’s original files (as opposed to the designer supplying you with a PDF file with the fonts embedded), then in that case you both need to license the fonts.

An interesting question is just where the designer got these converted TrueType fonts, if he or she didn’t license the originals.

charles ellertson's picture

Actually, every person who has the font on their machine as font software is suppose to have the license. Additionally, the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) may stipulate that the font cannot be embedded in a PDF file, or not so embedded without an additional licensing fee, which would mean the "ink" printer (if there is one) would also need to have a license. There may be further licensing fees if the book is to be distributed in digital form as a PDF.

EULA's vary widely across the many publishers of fonts. And some largish companies in Europe are seeing a potential gold mine in font licensing. That they are thinking more of commercial advertising than academic use is unfortunate, but there you are.

I'd say your designer is treating you rather shabbily, though of course, that is a quick reaction by someone in the states (who works in scholarly publishing), and may be unfair in this particular case.

If the publisher and designer are asking you, the author, to bear all font licensing costs, I'd seriously suggest that you consider OpenSource fonts, which typically have no cost, and no restrictions.

Here is one such:

Here are a couple more:

This is exactly where designer should be helping you, rather than simply being an artist & then claiming the cost is your problem.


While not DIN, Lato is a good, OpenSource font Here's a couple links:

For your amusement & education, you might enjoy the Wikipedia entry on DIN fonts...

Note that at the bottom of the article in Wikipedia, there *seem* to be a couple downloads of DIN as OpenSource...

ResQ's picture

Wow, thank you everybody! I'm really grateful for all the suggestions!
@charles ellertson - These are great alternatives. And now I am gradually getting the hang of it all :) We tend to take things like fonts etc. for granted, but now I know better! Thanks again for the detailed response. I might just end up buying the original version and have the fake one replaced, because I have really come to like the look of this font: it's both very academic and stylish.

Thanks a lot, once again!!!

Jens Kutilek's picture

You mean this font is an "unofficial" version? What are the legal implications of using that, then?

"Unofficial" doesn't necessarily mean "illegal". Some licenses allow or used to allow format conversion or modifications for your internal use.

EULA's vary widely across the many publishers of fonts. And some largish companies in Europe are seeing a potential gold mine in font licensing.

I can assure you FontFont isn’t one of those. The standard license covers PDF embedding for print and digital distribution (PDF, epub3 ...). (Though it doesn’t allow modification of the fonts, and for embedding in apps or editable documents a different license is required.)

Té Rowan's picture

IIRC, OSP-DIN is the narrow version (Engschrift). – Here are a medium (Mittelschrift) and the shortlived wide (Breitschrift) among other standardised faces.

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