A few months back I earned a project from a client in which I was required to complete a design that was left midway by another designer. My client was in love with some elements of the design that my predecessor created especially the fonts and wanted me to use the same ones for the rest of the website. Unfortunately the previous designer never sent him a PSD, instead all he had was a jpeg of the design. I loved the fonts used in the design as well I really did and I was more than willing to use them but the problem was I did not have a clue what was the name of these fonts.

So my search began, first thing I did was contacted a few of my designer buddies and although some of them are exceptionally brilliant designers with a long experience in the field no one could come to my aid in knowing the name of these fonts. I was stuck, the deadline set by the client was quite strict and as she is a regular client of mine I did not want to disappoint her. A pending deadline, a client you don’t want to lose and a blank mind, most of you can understand how miserable a designer gets in such a situation Right? So in all this gloom and doom I decided to contact my favorite wizard for help, GOOGLE. I found quite a few tools that could be used for font recognition, and this is my personal experience with these tools.

1. What the Font

This is the first tool that comes up when you search for font identification in Google and it was the first one that I used. You need to upload the image of the text and the tool will try to match it with its database and give you the result. In my case I uploaded 3 images for the three different fonts and got result for all three of them, unfortunately when I downloaded the fonts and used them in the design only one of them looked perfectly the same one that I was looking for. The second one was quite close but I will not call it perfect as I could easily differentiate a few of its characters. The third one was a complete failure and was nowhere close to what I was looking for, so my search went on.



2. Identifont

This tool was helpful to me in finding one of the fonts I was looking for but I will not recommend it. The reason is the approach used by Identifont to recognize the fonts. It asks you a set of questions which includes whether the font is Serif or San Serif? Do you know the part of its name? Do you know the name of the font that the one you are looking for looks similar to? Can you recognize any symbol or picture used in the font? and do you know the name of the font publisher? This is the most ridiculous way of font identification but as I said it was helpful to me as I already knew the name of the font that looked similar to the one I was looking for.



3. What Font Is

Now I was left with only one font that needed to be recognized and I head to GOOGLE again, this time I found What Font Is. First thing to keep in mind is that this tool has a lot more limitations than What the Font. Like it only allows you to upload an image which has 10 or less characters if you upload an image with more characters than 10 you will get an error message. Furthermore it sometimes breaks the image into individual characters and the result gets broken too. Thirdly it requires you to enter corresponding characters for at least two of the characters in the image otherwise it will again give an error message. Plus the result it provided was completely and utterly wrong.



4. Typophile

After all this tiring exercise I found a place which made me think why did it take me so long in reaching this awesome website. Typophile is the largest community of the font experts on the web and if you ask me it is the best place to ask for help if you get into the situation that I was. You have to create an account which is quite simple and then you can post your image and ask the community members to help you out on this. My experience is that you will get quite a few responses and a healthy debate. I found the font name I was looking for and just to be on the safe side I asked the community members to help me out in confirming the name of the other two fonts that I found out using What the Font and Identifont, and they matched.


5. Font Finder Firefox Add-On

This is another font recognition tool that can come handy if you want to know the font used in a website. If you are using the Firefox browser then all you have to do is select a text and right click and select the Font Finder and you will not only get the font family and size but also some CSS properties like Line Height, Font Color, Font Weight, Text Transform and Element’s type.



According to my experience Typophile will be the best option for finding out the name of the font that you are looking for. The community is large and they are some of the best experts you can get for the purpose of font recognition. But getting a helpful response from the community members on Typophile can take about 1 hour and if you are in a hurry then you should try What the Font, which was the most helpful of the other four tools. Identifont is only helpful if you already know a little about the font otherwise it’s quite useless. What a font is the least helpful of all five and I don’t recommend it for font recognition.