A Mythical DIN


I am working on a small project that involves many graphic aspect of the music business. This, of course, includes logotypes and the letters that form them.

Sadly, I am stuck with an earlier iteration of the Rough Trade logo. There have been several of them, and most of them share a common ancestor, the DIN typeface, which is currently distorted to achieve that grungy, distressed look which I supposse is what passes for rebellion these days. (I love Rough Trade, by the way)

I tried to recreate the old logo through several visits to the most famous websites specializing in typography, but I cannot find any DIN Bold Condensed or a typeface that matches the logo I have in a faithful manner.

My question is: Does this DIN weight actually exist or is the logo just a custom job?

Thank you.


  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,337
    edited March 2021
    DIN? Wasn't the Rough Trade logo based on Helvetica Extra-Compressed with the bar chopped off the G? Are you talking about the rounded font they used for Mute records?
  • I must confess I've never seen the one you mention. Their current logo is actually a DIN iteration, distorted and distressed as it is. I would send you an example of the older logo if that wasn't against the rules of the website.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,337
    edited March 2021
    The R in the current logo isn't like DIN at all. I'm pretty sure that's Helvetica Extra-Compressed. Where do you read that it was DIN?

  • Vasily DraigoVasily Draigo Posts: 41
    edited March 2021
    Most likely it is a custom lettering, made not from some font. 
    "Designed with Craig Oldham, based upon original and historic DIY source material."

  • The R is the current logo isn't like DIN at all. I'm pretty sure that's Helvetica Extra-Compressed. Where do you read that it was DIN?

    I just spent some time doing some research and checking dozens of labels/stickers to see if I could trace the origin of the typeface. It turned out it was a heavily distressed DIN.
  • This is a part of a label. Circa early 80s. I cannot find the "trade" part right now as I have so many files that I'm going through at the moment.   : )
  • Yet another one, this time from a 1985 album by The Smiths, "Meat is Murder". My theory is that the original, non-distressed typeface used in the logo is actually a DIN Bold Condensed typeface that has been so disfigured it is almost unrecognizable.
  • Thanks for making your point. I appreciate and esteem your comments and suggestions.

    I am certainly not a professional typographer, but I reckon this image proves that DIN was at some point part of their graphic chart, no matter how distorted -or perhaps just swapped by another font-  it may have become during the years. By the way, the attached image is sourced from the labels of several official singles published by Rough Trade in the early Eighties.
    RT.png 187.2K
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,585
    We are definitely seeing two different logos here.
  • Maybe three. (The ‘E’ is different in the last two images.) BTW, Fiz has posted this on fontid.co which is maybe a more appropriate forum.
  • The basic idea of DIN or other types of Norm-Schrift is equal stroke width and simple geometry to allow handwriting or plotting with a round pen.

    See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lettering_guide to get a feeling why it must be that simple.

    Thus the bowl of R is a circle, the leg of R is straight and the G has no leg in DIN.

    Even variations by designers follow these principles:

  • Only just noticed this post, so probably too late to be of much use but I agree with Ray Larabie.
    Much of Rough Trade's output seems to have been designed by Barney Bubbles. I enjoyed working alongside Colin Fulcher (AKA Barney Bubbles) for a year or so during the mid 1960s at Conran Design Group in London. During that time we celebrated the recent availability of Neue Haas Grotesque (Helevetica) as dry transfer lettering (Letraset). In fact we rarely used anything else. Colin was a great fan, once waxing lyrical over the perfection of Helevetica Light. I am sure that Helvetica would have been his first choice of lettering for any project - he probably just had it to hand. Being something of an anarchist, he had his own way of roughening things up and breaking the rules - but that came later.
  • Hello Nicholas,

    I just read your post after many months without entering this web site.

    Thank you so much for all the insights and the priceless information.

    I really, truly love some of Barney Bubbles' work.

    Best regards,

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