arly in my design career, around 2003, I wanted to purchase the font DIN for a project at work. My manager promptly dismissed the idea of paying for a font and instead handed me a CD that had “5,000 free fonts” on it, saying “This CD has every font a designer could possibly need. No need to waste money buying fonts!”.
I popped the CD in my computer and found a collection of the most horrendous fonts you could imagine. Novelty and “retro” fonts. Spooky Halloween fonts. “Techno” fonts. Fonts with letterforms made up of cats posing in crazy positions. Fonts with terrible kerning, missing glyphs and wonky rendering. Fonts available only in single weights with no italics.
Nowhere to be found was DIN or, for that matter, any font that a professional designer would actually use. Feeling dejected, I ended up just using Helvetica because we actually owned that one.