The FE typeface, developed in 1978-1980 by Karlgeorg Hoefer for the German Federal Highway Research Institute, has been used as the typeface for German vehicle number plates since 1994. This typeface has no uniform proportions. Every letter has its own unique appearance and does not derive – as is usually the case – from other letter forms. This is intended to make forgery more difficult.
The FE typeface was designed to be difficult to forge and easily machine-readable; number plates should allow automatic number plate recognition and evaluation. The new plates were introduced in the course of issuing the new European number plates. Depending on the number of letters, the variants close-spaced, medium-spaced and small medium-spaced are available. In 2000, the FE typeface completely replaced its predecessor DIN 1451 after a transition phase.