We’ve all been there before! A client has a new ad they want to run and they want you to use the same font that was used as a headline in a previous piece. The client provides an image of the prior ad but doesn’t have any of the original files for you to use. This can sometimes be a difficult task, particularly, when it’s not a commonly used font like Helvetica, Avant Garde, Times New Roman or Garamond. So how can you track down a font if you don’t have a clue as to its name? Fortunately, there are a few sites to help you with that. Check out a few examples listed below to help make your search a little easier. One thing to remember is there’s no magic bullet even with the amount of resources these sites can provide. When these sites don’t have the answer you are looking for, you may need to still scour the font collections of Google, Linotype or Adobe to name a few.
What The Font
WhatTheFont is a site that will identify a font by using an image. You can upload the image or provide the url of the image. It will then take the image you provided and searches its database. It will then offer suggestions based on what it most closely matches. I have had some great success with this site and consider it my first choice. When using the site, I have found that there are several things you can do to help increase your success. It works best when the letters are spaced apart and the letters are horizontal. The more characters you can provide the better your results will be. The font image should also be sharp and without a busy background. If it is unable to locate what you are looking for, WhatTheFont has a forum. There are a number of font enthusiasts to help.
What Font Is
WhatFontIs is also a site that will identify a font by using an image. It works very similar to the way that WhatTheFont works. You can upload an image of the font that you need identified in a jpeg or png format or provide the url of the image. If it is unable to locate what you are looking for, the site will offer alternative options. This is where this site sets itself apart from WhatTheFont. You can set up preferences for it to suggest alternative fonts that are either free or paid or the list in its entirety.
Identifont helps you identify a font by using the process of elimination in various categories. You select your category such as finding fonts by appearance, finding fonts by name, finding fonts by similarity, finding fonts by picture or by finding designers and publishers. In the appearance category, you will be asked a series questions. For example, questions in may ask if the characters have serifs or what style is the upper-case ‘Q’ tail is. With each question and answer, the appearance category narrows down the list of possible options. With the font by name category, you will have to provide at least part of the name. With fonts by similarity, you can simply provide the name of fonts that are similar in nature. With fonts by picture, you can provide the name of a symbol or picture. Each of the categories will also provide similar alternatives during the course of your search.
Font Identifier, from Linotype, also works by using the process of elimination and works very much like the appearance category in Identifont. It asks a series of questions about the appearance of the font. With each question and answer, it, too, narrows down the number of possible matches. However, it does not provide samples of the possible matches during the course of questions. You have to go through the process and follow it to the end. However, there is one distinct advantage to this site. Many times, samples may only have a few letters to draw information from. This site has a feature that has the option to restrict the questioning to specific letters. This will cut the amount of questions asked and allows the user to input only the information they have with the sample at hand.