modified type design by Andrew Hall
As a patient at a doctor’s office, you have come to expect a certain routine during a physical examination. The physician will consult your medical history, update your weight and height, assess your vital signs (yes, with a freezing cold stethoscope), and make sure everything is functioning properly.
While carrying out the palpation portion of the check-up, your medical practitioner will likely scrunch up his or her face while using funny medical jargon. These fancy Greek or Latin derived words would make any normal human being feel condemned for being the sole cause of the next epidemic, only to discover that what the doctor was really referring to (in Layman’s terms) was their arm, spine, ear, crotch, hairline, size or weight. Now, let out a sigh of relief, you are a healthy functioning human being, but I am here to tell you that although you might think you know the meaning behind these everyday terms, you probably don’t (well at least in the connotation of typography).
diagram via The Complete Manual of Typographyby James Felici
“Typography is the use of letter forms to visually communicate a verbal language. [....] Readability, legibility, reading time (how long it takes someone to read), size, shape, and style are all characteristics of typography that affect communication.” Characters, like body parts, have unique names that are used to describe their anatomy. The appearance of letters define the personality of the words they make up. As famous American typographer, writer, and scholar Beatrice Warde inferred, typography is like clothes that words wear (Packaging Design).
Now here is your chance to be a type physician. Have you ever wondered what font makes Google communicate “search” (Catull BQ font) or Facebook imply “social network” (adaptation of Klavika font), Twitter convey “microbloging” (modified version of Pico Alphabet font), TMZ suggest “celebrity news” (Amelia font)? You don’t need a thermometer, stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, or any other fancy medical instrument. Simply navigate over to the WhatTheFont portion of MyFonts.com to begin evaluating different typefaces (BuildInternet.com).
WhatTheFont allows you to upload a snapshot of any typeface in order to discover its font name. Two easy steps: upload and then help the software identify the correct characters (as shown below). The MyFonts tool will then provide you with an assortment of fonts that either are an exact match or best reflect the typeface you uploaded. You can even purchase the font if you like it enough! Now, with your expertise and a brief consultation with WhatTheFont you can identify just what font that arm belongs to; pretty handy (pun intended).
step two: identify correct characters
Try out some examples: WhatTheFont.