What fonts do German signs use?

This guide lists fonts that are used in Germany.

Official font for Berlin

Berlin Type is the official font of Berlin since 2021. It’s free to use.

BVG font

The BVG uses the FF Transit font for all its signage and advertising. This font and its pictograms were designed by Berlin-based design firm MetaDesign in 1997. FF Transit was designed for signage, and is also used by the Düsseldorf airport and the Société de transport de Montréal.

Deutsche Bahn fonts

The Deutsche Bahn uses DB Type for signage. Train markings use DIN 1451-4 since the 1920s. It replaced Musterzeichnung IV 442).

In the former East Germany, you still see signs in Erbar Grotesk. Helvetica was also briefly used.

German road sign font

German road signs use DIN 1451 since 1931. It’s available in 3 variants: narrow (Engschrift), normal (Mittelschrift) and wide (Breitschrift).

The Deutsche Post also uses DIN 1451.

German licence plate font

German licence plates use FE-Schrift (Fälschungserschwerende Schrift)since 1995.3 It makes licence plates harder to alter.

Berlin and East German fonts

A large number of East German signs were made by DEWAG. They often used variants of the Erbar Grotesk font. Erbar is used for Berlin’s street name signs, and many warning signs.

There are several digital releases of Erbar: URW Erbar, Dunbar, and Peter Wiegel’s Osterbar.

“The German font”

When people talk about “the German font”, they often think about Fraktur fonts. Use such fonts cautiously; they are old-fashioned, and sometimes associated with National Socialism.

Tannenberg was commonly used from 1935 to 1941, then the Nazis banned them in favour of modern typefaces.1

Pieter Wiegel recreated many historical typefaces and published them on his website. You can use them without restrictions.4

Sources and footnotes
  1. spurnull-magazin.de 

  2. Wikipedia 

  3. Wikipedia 

  4. peter-wiegel.de