It may not come as a surprise if you have read any of my previous posts, but I a big fan of web applications; specifically those which you can use to help you be more productive, set yourself apart from the crowd, or provide your customers with useful information. I also happen to be a big fan of all things typographical, so you can bet that when I came across an application that meshes these two things together it made my week!
The application in question, ingeniously named WhatTheFont, and was created by the premier typography store, MyFonts. The idea behind this clever application is that we are constantly surrounded by great uses of typography – both on the internet and in real life – but there are so many typefaces in existence is it nearly impossible to tell which one you are looking at.
WhatTheFont looks to help you identify typefaces by using image recognition to reference what you are looking at against their database of fonts, this way if you ever want to use the typeface you will know what to look for! You use the application by taking a screen capture of the type in question (in Windows this is as simple as hitting the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard and then pasting it into MS Paint) and uploading that image to the service.
You will be prompted to identify a few characters to sharpen the recognition, but after that it should give you your results and you can then use MyFonts to purchase the font, or use a site like Dafont download a similar font for free. In order to get the most out of the service you can check out a few image preparation tips here. Also, as a not-so-subtle plug for our product, you can use custom fonts on your Point2 Agent website by simply pasting the type into a Custom Content Module. But note however, that in order to render the custom font, the viewer must also have the font installed on their machine!
Finally, since some of the best uses of typography are in the real world, and not confined to the internet, WhatTheFont has you covered by providing an excellent iPhone application which you can use for free. Simply, use your iPhone camera to take a picture of the type in question and it will be automatically matched up. I have used it countless times since discovering it, and it is absolutely invaluable – just make sure you take the picture in a well lit area for the best results. You can get it from the iTunes app store here.