Ever have a project and you need a specific font but can’t seem to find the right one? Better yet you know what the font looks like but you can’t, for the life of you, figure out the name of it?
Both these things happen to me all the time. I have collected quite a font library over the years of designing at different companies and studios. I have yet to find a decent way of sorting through the various fonts I do have on a PC. When i worked on macs FontExplorer X was perfect. It could handle 60k font’s (i have way more than that) and not freeze and shit it’s pants. On a PC I unfortunately have to deal with FontExplorer’s counterpart Extensis Suitcase Fusion #5 or whatever number it’s on now. This program needs to be fixed or thrown away. The program freezes loading 7k fonts and crashes any Adobe program that it’s running on.
But I didn’t start this post to bitch about font management software. I started it to share some cool resources that I use when designing:
- 1) http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont/ – This resource helps when you find a font in a magazine, on a website, when you’re on the street and you take a picture of a cool font on a store-front or wherever. You can take a digital image, scan, photo, or url (max size is 2mb) and upload it to this site. Once the file is uploaded a program deconstructs the image and tries to identify individual letters of the font. It requires you to specify what the letters are (it’s not always right and sometimes mistakes lower for uppercase and vice-versa). Once you’re done w/ that it will search it’s database and suggest typefaces that are similar. It’s helped me out in a tight spot thousands of times.
- 2) As I had mentioned above, font management systems are a huge help. Mac’s FontExplorer X is leaps and bounds beyond the capabilities any PC Font Mgmt software (Extensis or Pc’s version of FontExplorer X). If you’ve pirated your fonts and the bulk of your library is comprised of these it will be a bit more difficult to keep these things ordered by font-type (slab serif, serif, black-letter etc.) or style. You’ll have to do some footwork sorting through and organizing them. But if you work with clients sitting behind you and you need quick and efficient access to your fonts this is the best way to go short of installing every typeface you have which would make me want to throw the computer against a wall.
- 3) Finding interesting display type is something I always keep an eye out for. Being spendthrift I don’t like spending too much money for things that I can find alternatives for. This is where losttype.com comes into play. While they don’t have too huge of a selection, it’s growing every day and whats even better is that they work on a donation basis. If you want to pay 1 cent for a typeface they will accept it. If you’re a jerk you can even pay nothing and still download the typeface. The fonts are well designed (some even come from old wood-type that was never converted into digital format. Thus the name) and the download files are properly maintained unlike dafont.com or any of those other junk font archives.
- 4) Nearing the seedy underbelly of the internet there is 4chan.org’s board “boards.4chan.org/gd“. This is a great resource for pirated fonts, genuine opinions (some are hacks some are decent designers with valuable imput) and stupid crap that only designers and the like will understand or care about. I won’t go into too much detail (check it out if you give a shit) but you can find 18 different archives with pirated fonts and if you ask around enough you can probably get software.
- 5) Torrents – In general, if you can’t afford anything at all ever you can get any program ever from pirate bay or any other torrent listing site, singular font’s are a little harder to narrow down. It’s really difficult to find specific typefaces in torrents. Most of the time the one font you’re looking for is in a zip folder inside another zip folder right next to 55 dafont.com fonts that are free anyway so why did you feel the need to package them and upload them to a torrent in the first place you a**hole.
These are some of the resources I use when designing. I didn’t list them all because then I wouldn’t have anything else to write about and you’d stop coming to check out the blog.