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Font-Curious? Try These Tools That Identify Fonts on the Web

·Tech Columnist
Stylized letters A B C D
Stylized letters A B C D

Evidently the Internet is full of people trying to identify their type.

I don’t mean members of dating sites — I mean people who are curious about the name of any given typeface they’ve encountered, online or off. Luckily for such folks, the Internet is a font of typography-identifying information and tools.

Ha ha.

Ahem. Anyway. Here’s the latest handy example we’ve heard of, via The Atlantic: The Chrome extension Fontface Ninja (also available as a Safari extension and a bookmarklet).

Install it in Chrome, click the icon, and you can mouse over any text and learn all the typographic details. (You can also, as I’ve done here, click a “mask” option that removes images from the page so you can just really, like, think about the fonts.)

Fontface Ninja screenshot
Fontface Ninja screenshot

Our font is, indeed, a bold version of Helvetica.

Another Chrome extension, What Font, also offers mouse-over type-identification. But what if you are curious about a font in a picture, or (if you can imagine) the physical world?

Well, post an image of it over at the popular reddit thread Identify This Font. A surprisingly active and knowledgeable bunch of readers there may just be able to answer your type question. You can also submit images of fonts you’d liked ID’d to What The Font, which has its own (more visually appealing) online forum.

Finally, if you’d prefer to conduct more rigorous, personal research into any given font, start at Findafont.com, which offers a variety of links to typography-related resources and a handy flowchart to guide your inquiry.

As a font-curious person myself, I applaud your interest in letterforms and design. But be cautious in enthusing about these matters in public: Some people might find your hobby a bit geeky. And you don’t want to get typecast.

Write to me at rwalkeryn@yahoo.com or find me on Twitter, @notrobwalker. RSS lover? Paste this URL into your reader of choice: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/author/rob-walker/rss.