As a designer I'm sometimes inspired by the way a particular print piece is laid out. I love great typography and often times I see fonts used that I wouldn't think to or remember to use together. So now with the WhatTheFont App I can take a picture of the printed piece and the App will send the picture up to their servers for processing and return back the closest matches to the fonts that I photographed. This is not a new concept. You can already do this on the web. However, doing it on the web requires that you scan the artwork first. So that means you have to have a scanner handy.
That's Cool! What Font is That?
I first heard about this App while attending Photoshop World. I downloaded it immediately, but didn't get a chance to try it until now. The first attempt was a miserable failure. It didn't guess anything even close to what the font was. The second attempt wasn't much better. I was ready to delete the app at this point, then it dawned upon me that the problem was in the way the first two examples I tried were kerned tightly together. The letters were touching! Therefore, the site was having difficulty figuring out where one letter started and where one ended. Unfortunately, these days it's quite common for tight kerning to appear on headlines. So with this in mind I tried it on an example where the letters weren't touching and it worked perfectly.
Not good at detecting fonts that touch
You can help it out
The App presents you with a display of each letter and what it thinks it is. If it guesses wrong, you can correct it on the spot to get more accurate Font results/choices.
What's in it for them?
Why is this App/service Free. The idea is that once you find the font you're looking for that you'll buy it on the spot right from the source that helped you identify it. Bitstream is in the Font business. So if they can help designers identify fonts and you get all warm and fuzzy getting the answer, then you're likely to buy the font right on the spot. I know I have in the past.
The Bottom Line
It's free so it's hard to complain. However, I would like to see it do a better job distinguishing letters that may be touching. Otherwise the App works as advertised.