Typography is about picking the right fonts, but what happens when you see the perfect font, and have no name for it? Usually, a lot of head scratching, scrambling through piles of look-alike fonts, and a lot of frustration. Fortunately for typography’s sake, there are a few free tools online that can help you to identify those choice fonts for your own site or design.
- What the Font
A professionally made online utility, What the Font allows you to upload an image that has the font that you’re looking for, and then run it through their own online archive of fonts. The system will then give you many different options of what that font could be. This can be a serious time saver if you’re interested in finding either the font, or just fonts that have a similar style, including bold and gothic variations. As an added bonus, there’s also a forum where you can post your image, provided that the system can’t find it automatically, and then a font expert can get back to you on the possible name.
Ever play one of those guessing board games as a kid? “Does the person in your picture wear glasses? Do they have a beard?” Identifont’s a lot like that. This utility lets you guess at your own font by asking you questions about its characteristics, from the strokes and lines, to how certain letters are formed, along with helpful visual cues so that you can answer the questions with more accuracy. Identifont’s got a huge database of fonts to ask questions for, and it can narrow down your search if you know the font, but don’t have the image to upload yourself.
Another utility that gives you answers based on questions about the font, although this one works by identifying different exact characters, piece by piece. Typenavigator can sometimes provide answers in much less time than it takes to fill out the Identifont questionnaire, which some users might find to be overly long. As another advantage, you can even just blindly guess to see which fonts you like for a logo, piece by piece, to pick out the perfect font by the letters you’ll actually be using. TypeNavigator was created by Fontshop, and is based on a lot of the qualities that professional typographists are looking for in their online finder program, so you can trust it to be a productive experience.
Each of the above mentioned tools is free to use, so be sure to include them in your toolkit whenever you’ve got a mystery font on your hands.
What If I Want Suggestions?
Sometimes, you just know the type of font that might be right, but not necessarily the exact style of that font, which is why there are also useful tools for that job, like Google’s own Google Fonts site, which provides you with a list of fonts, preview images, and options to easily insert it into your own style sheet.