Find that Font! Fantastic font sites
July 23, 2006
Fonts - you
love them or you hate them. If you work with them often enough, you
probably do both.
bring your work alive. Makes it stand out. Makes it sizzle, pop - if
you want it to. Or keeps it subdued, readable. Whatever you want.
operating fonts tend to do well for readability: they're the bread and
butter of business life. (Still, there are nice alternatives
to Arial and Times New Roman. Try Verdana for web text, Garamond,
Palatino, Warnock Pro for documents.)
brochures, postcards and posters, web banners and letterheads, you need something different.
If you're a font-hound, you likely have thousands of fonts installed.
And still you can't find the one you want.
it, though. In an ad or magazine, on a poster or a
book cover, you've seen the font you want. For example, I was recently
tasked to find the font used on the covers of Steven Erikson's fantasy
book series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen:
You come up empty.
always good. My first recommendation: try a freeware font site. My
favorite is at http://www.dafont.com/
have more popups than fonts, are a pain to navigate, and simply don't
have a good selection. This one is great.
over 6000 free fonts. And the site is still manageable - organized very
cleanly, with 9 main categories and 73 subcategories. Fonts are
displayed 10, 20, or 50 per page, in default text or using as long a
line of text as you supply and your screen can display. You very
quickly see - often, with a single glance - whether they have what you
need. Click on any result, and a full character map appears. Simple,
and works great. Would that there was freeware to manage your PC-based
font collection as easily, quickly, and cleanly. Anyone?
example above, though, I still couldn't find the font used. The novel
was a fantasy, and the lettering appeared archaic. I tried the
Gothic category, subcategory by subcategory, using the custom text
string "Steven Erikson House of Chains". Simple.
medieval, at a glance - no match. Gothic, modern - no match, though
some were obviously closer. Gothic, celtic - aha! Some of them very,
very close. And while none of them were an exact match (easiest to look
at some of the very stylized letters, i.e. the a, the
s), I did note that many of the closest matches contained the word
"uncial" in the title.
fantastic site, myfonts.com
almost 50000 fonts. Yes, these cost money - but often very little, and
typically less (often by half) of what its competitors charge. Search
by category is not as neat as dafont.com, and I didn't know where to
start. But the site's search function, using only the word "uncial" -
there it was, on the first page of results displayed:
Click on the
font name itself to view the entire font, comparing letter for letter:
match! Wonderful. Mac and Windows font forms available, at minimal cost.
accomplished, in far less time than it took to write this article ...
Use it yourself, here:
note: had this approach failed, myfonts.com
one more very useful function: the WhatTheFont search. You upload an
image, and myfont's server-side font identification engine attempts to
identify the font from the submitted image. It didn't work for the
example in this article - but - submit it to the WhatTheFont forum and
font geeks from the world over will likely get you the answer in very