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10 Useful and Free Tools to Search and Identify Fonts

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If you’re a (frequent) reader here on the gonzoblog.nl, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a type lover! I always want to know what kinda font is being used when I see a lovely example on paper or on screen. You want to use that font, but how do you go about finding out how that font is called? Sounds familiar?

There are several ways how to find out the name of a specific font you’ve seen that you love. You could check the codes (using Chrome’s DevTools or Firebug to dive into the HTML/CSS), or you could ask your fellow designers on the different online forums, or you could email the designer/webmaster, etc.

Anyhowz, let’s say you found the name of your desired font, now come the next steps in your quest for more information; where can I download this font, how can I embed this into my site, what kind of web font service will I need, how much styles/weights can I choose from, etc., etc.

So after having spent a couple of hours wrestling through all the different information streams you’ve found, or maybe that you even gave up during this process, you’re starting to wonder if there isn’t a better and easier way to get this information. Today I would like to share some great free online tools you could check that will speed up the identification process.

Identifying Fonts In Images

WhatTheFont by MyFonts

WhatTheFont

Developed by one of the largest font providers, WhatTheFont is your number one spot for identifying your fonts. Simply upload an image (or specify a image URL) to WhatTheFont to find the closest matches in their database. The system will not always get the same exact font, but usually there are many closely related fonts that WhatTheFont will present for you. Otherwise let cloak-draped font enthusiasts lend a hand in the WhatTheFont Forum.

Source  iPhone App Android App

WhatFontIs

WhatFontIs is similar to WhatTheFont in that you it helps you identify fonts from an image. On this site, you also upload an image, identify highlighted characters, and get a list of fonts resembling the ones in your image. One difference is that during the character selection step, you can choose to see all results, only commercial fonts or just free ones. You also get the license detail in the results list to save you time.

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Font Identification and Type Research

With over 150,000 possibilities, finding the right fonts can be daunting. FontShop.com provides powerful browsing and searching tools, but sometimes the best tool is an expert who knows the library by heart. If you have an image with type you can upload the image or specify the URL, and you can even use more details of the type that needs to be identified (Classification and usage – body text or display)

Note: You’ll need to create a (free) account on Fontshop.com to be able to use this service

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Font Identifying Bookmarklets

WhatFont Bookmarklet

WhatFont

WhatFont consists of a neat bookmarklet that, once activated, you can hover over any text and immediately get a very nice-looking overlay which pops up with the name of the font. Once you click it, you’ll see additional details about the font. If you’re not a web developer or designer, but just a casual typography enthusiast, WhatFont is a perfect, neat and quick way to get font details.

The bookmarklet works on Firefox 3.6+, Chrome 9+, Safari 4+, Internet Explorer 9 and with limited support in Internet Explorer 8.

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Font Finder (Firefox Add-On)

The tool comes in handy when you want to know the font of the selected text. Also, the tool smartly explains all the CSS styles that are connected to that font. Just select the text, hit right-click of your mouse, and opt for Font Finder.

The add-on will compile the list of complete CSS code that is part of that text. You can even play with a website by changing its font to see if it will look better with the font of your choice.

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Fount Bookmarklet

Fount will tell you which web font in your font-stack you are actually seeing – not just what is supposed to be seen. It’ll also tell you the font size, weight, and style. Fount works in Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and IE8+.

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FFFFALLBACK

This bookmarklet will scan the CSS of the page in order to identify existing web fonts. Then, using magical unicorns and javascript rainbows, FFFFALLBACK clones the page and provides a tool where you can test and analyze different fallback font choices.

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Font Feature Identification

Identifont

Identifont

Since its launch in November 2000 Identifont has become the largest independent directory of digital fonts on the Internet. It provides a range of features to help you locate fonts or find information about fonts. This service takes a different approach and has several ways to find more about your font, one of their methods is to identify a typeface by answering questions about key features.

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Bowfin Printworks

This site identifies your font, by answering questions on the characteristic features of the glyphs of your desired font. Similar to Identifont, but seems to be quicker to input all the data as it’s all in one page. There are guides for Script Fonts, Bauhaus-style Fonts, Sans Serif, Serif Fonts and Lined Fonts.

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Identify Fonts by Sight

To identify a font, answer the questions about the characteristics within your typeface sample. You will then be presented with a list of fonts that best match the description you have provided. If your sample contains a limited set of letters, you can enter those characters to speed the font identification process by ensuring that you are only asked questions about letters contained in your sample.

Note: Linotype’s Font Identifier is almost the same tool as Identity Fonts, you can also limit the set of glyphs you want to identify.

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Author: Jan Rajtoral

Jan Rajtoral AKA Gonzo the Great is the Founder of and Designer at gonzodesign, providing design services across the full spectrum of Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Print and Advertising Design & Website Design.

4 comments

on this article: “10 Useful and Free Tools to Search and Identify Fonts”
  1. Wow! Great list of resources! You never know when one of these may come in hand so I’m bookmarking!

    I’m not sure if you’ve checked it out, but I just joined http://type.is/good and the font community over there is really great and they have a lot of free fonts to try in addition to a really great font ID section! It might be worth checking out if you’re a font lover like myself.

    Anyhow, thanks again for putting together this great collection!

    • Hi Ben,

      thanks for bookmarking, cuz here are some tools that helped me a bunch in finding that one specific font I wanted! And thanks for the link, quickly scanned it and it looks like a nice font community! Definitely gonna check out some of those free fonts too, thanks for the tip buddy!

      Have a great weekend and thanks for your time to comment, cheers & ciao!

  2. Totally saved me some serious time today. Great collection of free tools that helped me find that font. I just had to have.

    • Hi Michael,

      ha, so glad you liked the article and especially that it helped you in your ‘quest’ for that desired font! Only now I’m very anxious to know what that typeface was .., haha! Thanks for your comment, enjoy your weekend! Cheers & Ciao!

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