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Identify Fonts with Free iPhone App What the Font

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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What the Font is a free iPhone application that identifies typefaces from photos. A companion to the MyFonts website with the same title, What the Font is an intuitive and clever app that is a great tool for designers on the go.

Step 1: Take a Photo

The interface of What the Font is user-friendly, making it quick and easy to capture a font and then identify it. Upon launching the app, you are presented with the option to use an existing photo or to take a new one. Choosing an existing photo allows you to pick from any of the galleries in your iPhone photo collection, while opting to shoot a new one launches the camera. After taking a new photo, there is a helpful step that presents a preview of the picture and lets you retake or accept it. The major drawback here, to no fault of the app, is the limitations of the iPhone camera. Larger fonts in good light work best.

Step 2: Select the Type

If you choose to use the photo, the next step allows you to draw a box around the text that you want to identify. I found this to be very helpful, making the taking of the original photo much easier without worrying about only capturing the text itself. The addition of resizing the box after drawing it might be nice here, as it often takes several tries to create a box that starts at the right spot, but I wouldn’t consider that a significant roadblock.

Step 3: Approve the Characters

When your surrounding box is complete you click an upload button, and the app returns a page with each character separated into its own row. It also makes its “best guess” for matching the characters to actual letters. From here, you accept or reject each row as a character, or correct the letter the app has chosen, giving What the Font more information to continue with the identification.

Step 4: Identify Your Font

The app then loads several matches for the typeface, which can be viewed and purchased through MyFonts.com. I found the app to be accurate to the point that it leaves the user with several options to compare and select from, all of which resemble the original photo. It is definitely a tool that can identify similar fonts to the one you are looking for, if not always the exact font. Improved camera functionality and an addition of a flash could make the app even more powerful and accurate.

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