who use DIN 1451
derivatives for their number plates
Alteration in character widths
for license plate use is customary. As with most fonts, the
numeric characters in the original DIN 1451 are narrower on average
than the width of the uppercase alpha characters. Most countries who
currently use DIN 1451 for number plates have modified the font
so the letters and numbers are about the same width, or exactly so if
the font is strictly monospaced. To achieve this, alpha characters are
typically made narrower than in the original font, while the numerals
are widened. The actual overall average character width varies from
country to country, however, sometimes significantly. Also note that
the replicated commercial versions of the number plate fonts featured on this site
may have character widths that may not be strictly monospaced. Commercial
replicas may feature more tailored individual character widths plus
kerning pairs so that character fit is better for general graphic design use.
Austria’s plates currently,
and going all the way back to the 1940s after World War II, have
used a sans serif font based on DIN 1451 but with round endstrokes,
although character shapes have changed a bit over the years. Other than
the round endstrokes, notable points of difference with standard DIN 1451 are:
- 7 – gently curved diagonal, no serif on upper left.
- J – crossbar at top of character extending from left of main
vertical stroke for full character width.
- Note that Austria’s font is unusual among license plate typefaces
for retaining a normal W shape (Austria’s font is not strictly
monospaced), without a truncated center vertex (extends to the full
Based on DIN 1451 with these
noticeably modified characters: 1, 3, B, D, K, M, Q (slightly), S, W.
Font based closely on DIN 1451
with some differences.
The Finnish font is a mixture
of some characteristics from DIN 1451 with more humanistic influences.
Sides of some normally curved letters such as C, G, O, and Q are straight;
the numeral 4 is typical DIN; yet other characters such as D, 6, 9 have
oval/ curved sides.
As mentioned previously, in 1936
the German Institute for Industrial Standards (DIN) chose DIN 1451
as the country’s standard font for industrial use including traffic
and vehicle applications. Thus the typeface was used for license plates
in its original form in Germany until 2000, when a new standard was
adopted mandating the use of FE Schrift.
Collectors’ examples dating
from 1990 show Hungary’s plate font to be a close derivative of
DIN 1451 Mittelschrift with relatively minor differences.
Italy uses a font based on DIN
1451, although the weight is lighter than the norm. Characters with
- 3 – flat top on upper bowl, with angled connecting stroke
to the central junction.
- 4 – much shorter vertical stroke on right side.
- 5 – vertex at upper left of the lower bowl is close to a straight
right angle rather than acute and curved.
- 6 and 9 – “tails” of characters end at an angle,
short of forming a full semicircle.
- 7 – no downward serif at upper left.
- G – horizontal spur considerably below midline.
- Q – has been discontinued in Italy’s number plate font
since 1999. However, in previous versions the angled tail was a bit
truncated compared to DIN 1451, and chopped parallel to the baseline
on the bottom.
- As with most license plate fonts, M and W are considerably narrowed,
with both vertexes ending short of the character midline.
Since the 1970s, Poland’s
font has been modeled on DIN 1451 with some differences. Most are
relatively minor excepting a few characters such as the numeral 4, which
has a fully closed triangle-type glyph with crossbar that stops flush
at the vertical stroke. The letter K’s angled strokes meet together
at the downstroke instead of just the top stroke intersecting the vertical
stroke. And the vertexes on the M and W are not so truncated as in many
countries’ ad hoc adjustments to DIN 1451. Also, as discussed
above, Poland uses DIN’s modern alternate forms of 6 and 9 with diagonal
finishing strokes rather than the original forms with semicircular ending
Current plates since at least
early 1990s are based on DIN 1451.
Uses a font closely based on
DIN 1451 with some differences. In the 1980s the 7 had no downward-pointing
serif on the upper left, but sometime in the 1990s the font implemented
the standard DIN 1541 numeral 7 with the serif. Since May 2004,
the zero has included a 45-degree angled cut sliced out of the upper
right portion of the character.
Current font is modeled after
Sweden began its use of a DIN 1451
derivative in 1972, but from 1994–2001 switched to a modified
form of Helvetica Bold, then in 2002 reverted to DIN 1451 again.
In the earlier period when DIN was used, the modern forms of numerals
6 and 9 with diagonal “tails” were employed, whereas in the
current period since 2002 the original forms with semicircular tails
are being used.
Plate Fonts of the Western World
Page: Intro |
North America (1) |
North America (2) |
North America (3) |
North America (4) |
North America (5) |
North America (6) |
Europe (1) |
Europe (2) |
Australia & New Zealand