After the all-American ‘c’s it’s good to see a bit of European rebalancing with the ‘d’s.
First up is DIN, which is an acronym for the German Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Industrial Standard). In 1936 the German Standard Committee selected DIN 1451 as the standard typeface for use in the areas of engineering, technology, traffic, administration and business.
The earliest version of a DIN face was released by the D Stempel AG foundry in 1923. Stempel’s DIN face was based upon a 1905 typeface for the Königlich Preußische Eisenbahn-Verwaltung (Royal Prussian Railway Company) and was applied mostly to architectural and engineering drawings. This version later became the basis for DIN-Engschrift. In 1929, the Berthold foundry released a version, and it too was mostly applied to drawings. Both of the early DIN typefaces were made available as stencils for labelling technical drawings, and were used primarily in italic form.
Spread of the DIN typeface, after its 1936 adoption by the German Standards Committee was rapid. The mostly widely used of the DIN 1451 group was DIN-Mittelschrift. It was released as metal type, as acetate stencils for smaller applications, large metal stencil alphabets for application to vehicles and in train yards, and as cast metal lettering for street and building signage.
Though the Bauhaus used a DIN-inspired mark in catalogues and a periodical during the 1930s, popular use of DIN in print material did not occur until the 1960s. In the 1970s, Letraset made several variants available, mostly intended for architects and engineers, but also making it available to graphic designers. By the late 1980s use of DIN faces emerged in European and North American graphic work. In 1995, Dutch typeface designer Albert-Jan Pool drew a multi-weight version, eventually licensing it to Font Shop International as FF DIN. The FF DIN family, unlike DIN 1451, uses simplified standard weight names.
And next up is Didot. Beautiful, isn't it? Didot is the name of a group of typefaces from the famous French printing and type-producing family of the same name. The classification is known as modern, or Didone. The typeface we see used today was based on a collection of related types developed in the period 1784-1811. Firmin Didot (1764–1836) cut the letters, and cast them as type, and his brother Pierre Didot (1760–1853) used the types in printing. The typeface takes inspiration from John Baskerville's experimentation with increasing stroke contrast and a more condensed armature. The Didot family's development of a high contrast typeface with an increased stress is contemporary to similar faces developed by Giamabattista Bodoni in Italy.
Several revivals of the Didot faces have been made, most of them for hot metal typesetting. Like Bodoni, early digital versions suffered from a syndrome called 'dazzle' – the hairline strokes in smaller point sizes nearly disappearing in printing. Among the more successful digital versions is one drawn by Adrian Frutiger for the Linotype foundry. Frutiger's design anticipates the degradation of hairline in smaller point sizes by employing heavier weighted strokes in the smaller point sizes.
(Acknowledgements to Wikipedia for background information on these typefaces.)