WhatTheFont is a great idea and it did show us fonts similar to one of those we found.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but on the other hand, too much imitation gets to looking cookie-cutter. Web designers, graphic artists and others are always looking for new fonts to keep their work from looking just like everyone else’s. How do they find those fonts? Why, by seeing them on other people’s work, of course.
So, after you have seen this really cool font, what do you do? You could ask the designer of whatever medium you are imitating what font she used, but she may not be enthusiastic about sharing that information – after all, she picked it so her work wouldn’t look like everyone else’s.
With WhatTheFont, users can upload a picture of the font they are interested in using and WhatTheFont will tell you the name of the font. If WhatTheFont can’t identify your font, it recommends that you post it on their forum and allow the geeks to help.
On WhatThefont’s homepage, it is easy to find the search box. The directions are clear and easy to follow. It tells you what kind of picture you should strive to upload.
WhatTheFont says it will find the closest match in their database to the uploaded font. It does not say what types of fonts are in their database. Do they try to cover a wide variety or is their database made of fonts they sell (WhatTheFont is part of MyFonts website)? In any case, we ran a quick Google search for “special fonts” (because you’d certainly want a special font, right) and picked one of the results. From that page we took screenshots of two different fonts and uploaded them. The process was quite simple.
Once the font sample was uploaded, WhatTheFont “read” it and asked us to confirm that it had properly guessed the identity of each letter, and to fix those that were wrong. Once that was done, WhatTheFont offered several choices of similar fonts. In neither case did it properly identify the font. In one case it offered a very similar font; in another the offered fonts were not at all similar to the uploaded one.
WhatTheFont is a free service; the fonts offered by MyFonts aren’t–but hey, everybody’s got to eat, and if you don’t want the same fonts that everyone who can run a Google search can get for free on the web, you are going to have to pay for them.
WhatTheFont is a great idea and it did show us fonts similar to one of those we found. The one that didn’t work was highly ornamental, so perhaps that was the problem. This is one of those nothing ventured, so you can only gain by using it websites. If it works, great; if it doesn’t, well, do as they suggest and use their forums to ask the experts – or you could go and ask the person on whose website you saw the font. On second thought, try the WhatTheFont forums.