What’s that font? Most of us can tell a serif from a sans serif from a monotype font from a cursive or handwritten font. But how many of us know Goudy Old Type from Palatino, or Arfmoochikncheez from BadaBoom BB? It’s easier to select a font you want to use from a list of fonts than it is to name a font you see somewhere.
That problem brings me to the Find My Font app for the Mac, a utility which lets you find the name of a font. All you need is a bitmap image of the font to get started. Grab the font you want to find from an image on the web, drag and drop it onto Find My Font, select a specific letter to search, and click the Match Fonts! button.
Find my Font does an online search of a database of fonts to match the font you’ve selected. Does it work? Yes. And no.
Standard text fonts are picked out rather quickly; Helvetica, Arial, Trebuchet, Georgia, Times, and others. More esoteric fonts used as display fonts take longer to find, and usually come up with multiple versions which, more or less, match the font you want.
In some cases Find my Font finds the exact font you’ve chosen. In other cases it will find fonts that are similar or almost exactly the same but with different names. That’s because the font design industry churns out designs where many fonts look the same or nearly the same, but have different names.
Find my Font can also use a photo of a font, so if you see a font somewhere that catches your eye and you want to know what it is, whip out your smartphone and take a snapshot, then drop it into the app. The built-in image correction tools make it easy to doctor an image that can be found in the online database. Matched fonts can even be installed on your Mac.
Me? I just want to find out the name of a font and where I can get it.
There’s also a website called WhatTheFont which does much the same thing– finds fonts from an uploaded image– but without all the bells and whistles.