Since those days of carrying freshly printed newspapers which were printed with hot lead, I’ve had a love affair with fonts.
My first Apple LaserWriter printer boasted four usable fonts and a $7,000 price tag. Today, fonts for computers and printers are a dime a dozen. There are so many fonts available for Mac users that it’s difficult to know which ones are which.
Name That Font!
The real trick for font hobbyists like me is to figure out a specific font on a printed page or web site without cheating. It’s not as easy as it looks.
What’s the difference between Helvetica and Arial? How do you know which is which?
Font aficionados know, but the rest of us require a helping hand or two.
Enter FontGenius, a handy Mac app that purports to identify those fonts that you can’t identify or that don’t easily identify themselves.
The initial test was simple. FontGenius is not inexpensive, but it comes with an odd trial in an attempt to be a try-before-you-buy app. It won’t let you add an image of the font you want to test, but instead uses its own sample font images.
Simply select the image of a font you want and FontGenius does the rest. Maybe. It couldn’t identify any of the fonts in the supplied FontGenius sample, even when the font was black on a white background.
That’s not good behavior for a not inexpensive app. A try-before-you-buy app really needs to be full featured.
WhatTheFont is an online font matching app and works in a browser window. Take a screen snapshot or scan of a particular font, upload the image, and WhatTheFont scans the image, and supposedly matches it to a font database.
The image I used was the font in the Mac360 logo above. Can you guess the font?
WhatTheFont came up with 15 matches, and a few were close. The nearest was CamingoDos-Extra Bold. Not a bad guess. But wrong.
In reality, the actual Mac360 font in the logo and headlines comes from the Google Web Fonts collection, specifically the Droid Sans.
FontGenius looks like a great idea for those who have a need to know what font is used in an image or web site. The user interface is attractive, elegant, and the process to identify fonts (drag to select, click) is simple. It just needs to work.
With many thousands of fonts available online, it can’t be an easy task to compare a scan or image, but if Apple can do decent face recognition in iPhoto, you’d think an app could figure out what font is used in an image.