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Schablonenschrift A

The obsolete DIN Schablonenschrift A (Stencil Type A)

In the 1920s and 30s, simple new alphabets of letters were developed using geometric forms. The most important contemporaries were the Bauhaus teachers Josef Albers and later Joost Schmidt, but also well-known graphic artists such as Herbert Bayer, Jan Tschichold and Paul Renner.

The «Deutsche Normenausschuss» (today German Institute for Standardisation [Deutsches Institut für Normung, DIN]) developed a similar alphabet as stencil type called «Schablonenschrift A» (Stencil Type A) and included it in DIN 1451. Besides the type specimen, a construction drawing of all characters was included.

Those responsible were well aware of the limited legibility of this stencil design. Therefore, it was pointed out that 1. the typeface should only be used for lettering without the highest demands on legibility, and 2. single letters and the arrangement of only capital letters should be avoided. Today, Schablonenschrift A is no longer part of the DIN 1451 standard. According to Albert-Jan Pool, the Stencil Type design was removed before 1980. However, the exact date of the invalidation is currently unknown.

  1. image: DIN 1451, Exhibit page 6, Schablonenschrift A, 1943
  2. image: DIN Schablonenschrift A, Stencil Type A
  3. image: Application Sample of Schablonenschrift A

DIN Schablonenschrift A, Stencil Type A Blueprint and Grid

Rare usage examples

Despite its inclusion in the DIN standard, you will not find many applications of this type of stencil. They may have been quite rare. But typeface was an official standard for stencil lettering in Germany for at least 30 years, from the Third Reich to the time of the Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). If you do find an application, it may look a little different.

As Albert-Jan Pool said, the idea at that time was that the companies and institutions using the DIN standards would either adopt them unchanged or convert them into a factory or in-house standard and adapt them if necessary. AEG, Siemens, the Reichsbahn and the army all had such in-house standards.

The main use of this typeface was probably simple marking jobs in the military field. The better option always would be the much more legible standard DIN typefaces, which were also available in good quality as brass and zinc stencil sets. Also, the profession of sign painting was very common in those days, and so on historical photos of military equipment one tends to see hand-painted lettering corresponding to the common DIN type specifications or the simplified blackletter typefaces common at the time.

  1. image: DIN Schablonenschrift A, crate, GDR army
  2. image: DIN Schablonenschrift A, crate, GDR army
  3. image: DIN Schablonenschrift A, crate, Czechoslovakia army


Schablonenschrift A, Stencil Type A – type tester >>> To start editing, click the text line!

If you like this font, you can buy a license at astype fonts.

Free Font Download

There is good news for all modelers, historians, and type lovers, who wish to use this font. The font is published as Vtg Stencil DIN Type A. The simple font style «Basic», which is very close to the DIN specifications, is available for free from the astype fonts website.


  • DIN 1451, Oktober 1943
  • DIN Taschenbuch 2, Zeichnungsnormen, August 1950