How to Identify a Font Quickly

By Contributor

Updated July 21, 2017

Font identification can be tricky.
i Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Graphic designers are given images all the time and told "match this" with no information on what the font in the image might be. Even if you're not a designer, you probably need to identify a font from time to time. With thousands of fonts available these days, to call font identification a challenge is an understatement. Fortunately, there's a process to identify a font quickly.

Take a look at the image with the font to be identified. If there is more than one font in the image, crop the image so that only one font appears. If there is a busy or complicated background, simplify the background if possible.

Visit the My Fonts website and upload your image to the "WhatTheFont" section. It'll have you type in each letter that appears in the image in order. Pay attention to the highlighted letter and make sure you're entering that letter. If the program has separated the dot from the stem of the "i," for instance, you can combine the image by clicking and dragging one on top of the other to join the two before labeling the letter.

Take a look at the top choices from WhatTheFont. If any of them are right, you've found it. If you need to purchase it, the site usually links you to the font foundry where you can buy it. If WhatTheFont didn't identify the font, move on to the next step.

Try the Identifont website next. Identifont works best if you have several different characters to look at because the site asks questions about individual characteristics on specific letters. The site is more labor intensive than, but it is helpful. Go through the Identifont questions as carefully as you can to get the best results. If Identifont guesses correctly, you're done and can buy the font if you don't already have it. If not, try the next step.

If neither WhatTheFont nor Identifont can identify the font, you can choose one of two paths: throw in the towel (or ask the client again) or ask other designers. Both sites mentioned have forums where you can post your image and ask other designers to take a look and make guesses. This can be time consuming, but you'll usually get the right answer in a few days. Express your appreciation, and if you're able to identify a font for anyone else in the forums, be sure to participate.


Don't get too frustrated by this -- it can be a challenge to figure out which font was used in some cases. With so many fonts, there are many similarities; two fonts can be almost identical except for slight differences in certain characters.