How to Identify a Font Quickly

by Contributor

Graphic designers are given images all the time and told, "Match this" with no information on what the font in the image even 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 and I'm going to share it with you!

Step 1

Take a look at your image with the font to be identified. Is there more than one font in the image? Is there a busy or complicated background? To get the best results, crop your image so that only one font appears and simplify the background if at all possible.

Step 2

Visit whatthefont.com and upload your image. 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 (click and drag one on top of the other to join the two) before labeling the letter.

Step 3

Take a look at the top choices from whatthefont.com--are any of them right? If you've found it, that's great! If you need to purchase it, the site will usually link you to the font foundry you can buy it from. If whatthefont.com didn't identify the font, move on to step 4.

Step 4

Try identifont.com next. Identifont.com works best if you have a lot of different characters to look at because it'll ask you questions about individual characteristics on specific letters. It's also a little more labor intensive than whatthefont.com, but it's also very helpful. Go through the identifont.com question as carefully as you can to get the best results. If identifont.com guesses correctly, you're done and can buy the font if you don't already have it. If not, try step 5.

If neither whatthefont.com nor identifont.com can identify the font, you can choose one of two things: 1) Throw in the towel (or ask the client again); or, 2) Ask other designers. Both sites 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 almost always get the right answer in a few days. Make sure to express your appreciation, and if you're able to identify a font for anyone else in the forums, be sure to chip in. So, there you have it, five easy steps to font identification!


  • Don't get too frustrated by this--it can be a real challenge to figure out which font was used in some cases. With so many fonts, there are also a lot of similarities and two fonts can be almost identical except for slight differences in certain characters. Keep working to identify the font.

Items you will need

  • A sample of the font
  • A computer
  • Internet access

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