Albert-Jan Pool is a German-based, Amsterdam-born type designer. He studied type design at the Royal Academy of the Arts in Amsterdam and after graduating, moved to Germany. Pool served as the type director at Scangraphic in Wedel, near Hamburg from 1987 – 1991. He was then the manager of Type Design & Production at URW from 1991 – 1994. During his time at URW, he completed the typefaces URW Imperial, URW Linear, and URW Mauritius. In 1995, he started his own design firm called Dutch Design. This coincided with his redesigning the DIN typeface.
DIN is an acronym for Deutsches Institut für Normung, the German Institute for Standardization. The first version of DIN, a realist sans-serif typeface, was released in 1923 by the D Stempel AG foundry, based on a 1905 typeface for the Royal Prussian Railway Company, later becoming the pre-cursor to DIN-Engschrift. The Berthold Foundry released a version of DIN in 1929. Both versions were also released as stencils to be used on engineering and technical drawings, primarily as oblique typefaces.
In 1936, DIN 1451 was adopted as the standard typeface used for engineering, traffic, and business in Germany, mostly as DIN-Mittelschrift. The typeface quickly gained recognition as it was seen on traffic signs and building signage throughout Germany.
Even though the DIN typeface had only two weights, several top designers were using it extensively in print. Albert-Jan Pool was approached in 1994 by Erik Spiekermann to redo DIN 1451 to make it a more versatile typeface for modern use. Pool created a cleaner, smoother typeface in five weights (light, regular, medium, bold, and black) and later released a true italics and a condensed style, each in five weights. He is currently working on a rounded version.