When font lovers, graphic designers or media designers encounter a font they really like and that would fit perfectly into their new design project, they are faced with several questions: How can I recognize this font? What is the font called? Where can I find it? Is the font free or do I have to buy it? Don’t worry! There are several tools for font recognition.
Three different types of tools will help you to recognize the font you are looking for. If a picture of the font is available – a screenshot or a photo – applications such as the “Font Matcherator” from Fontspring are suitable for glyph analysis. Such tools extract possible glyphs from the image material, which are then determined automatically or (correcting) by hand.
Recognition from memory, on the other hand, is much more difficult. But there are also helpers for this: Portals like identifont.com and linotype.com ask for the appearance of different glyphs of a font – letters, punctuation marks and other symbols – in order to then deliver possible hits. This works best if you have a whole text of the font you are looking for, which contains many different letters. The more often “not sure” is chosen, the less likely a hit is to occur. On the other hand, such tools can also be used to find a certain desired font, if an idea has settled in your head.
The third group of font tools focuses specifically on web fonts: Extensions and bookmarks for the browser display the correct font, as long as you encounter it on the web as text and can click or mark it. Unfortunately, these tools do not work for text within an image.
Font recognition by image:
Fontspring Matcherator, WhatFontis.com and WhatTheFont
The best known font finders are the Matcherator from Fontspring, the portal WhatFontis.com and WhatTheFont from myfont.com. Although the Fontspring Matcherator claims to be the leading font detection tool, our tests speak a different language.
Hints on how to use these font recognition tools:
The contrast between font and image background should be as high as possible. Black font on white background is ideal.
For images with many colors, it is recommended to rework the image/photo with an image editing program and reduce the existing colors.
The image to be analyzed should contain only one font. Tool: Crop!
Delete inappropriate glyphs, which are automatically detected by the glyph analysis, so that the analysis is not disturbed by incorrect values.
Fonts whose letters are connected to each other are difficult for the tools to evaluate. It may be possible to separate the letters using image processing.
The text should stand on a horizontal line, multiple lines are not necessarily a problem.
It is best if the text contains only Latin letters and numbers.
In our test we had WhatFontis.com, WhatTheFont and the Fontspring Matcherator analyze completely different fonts: with serifs (Times New Roman), without serifs (Helvetica Neue and Clear Sans) and decorative fonts like the free retro fonts “Metro Retro” and “Playball”.
Identifont, Linotype and Co – Search and find fonts
How does font recognition work with font tools like Identifont? The second group of Font Finders asks the user for various characteristics of the glyphs of a font: serifs yes or no, Q, A, M, a, J, P, 7, 4, R, etc. On the one hand, the tool can be used to find fonts that are available or to find a potential desired font from the imagination. However, the more often the answer “not sure” is selected, the longer the questionnaire will be. Decorative fonts are also difficult to find.
These tools include:
Identify Fonts by Sight from Fonts.com
Linotype Font Identifier
Bowfin Printworks Serif Font Identification Guide: Very clear, because all questions are directly below each other!
You can also find great fonts on the web. These can be marked or clicked on with bookmarks or extensions for the browser, depending on how it works; the tool then delivers the desired result. Any text that can be marked can be read.
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