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What The Font?!

MyFonts.com MyFonts.com has a service that helps with font identification, called WhatTheFont. It is very useful to help you identify fonts you do not have but have a sample of text in that typeface. Additionally, for the really tough ones, there is a forum that can help you.

Font Names

One note on the names of fonts. Since U.S. copyright law does not protect the shapes of the glyphs (can you imagine how hard it would be to write anything if somebody copyrighted the letter “e”?), it is usually the name of the typeface that differs between suppliers. Two different typeface houses may sell packages with exactly the same letterforms, but with vastly distinct names. We provide at least one of those names here, but names can vary between suppliers and between platforms.

As a specific example, take the font described on the Quest Fonts for the Specialty Bunny names: Lucida Big Casual. It is available from URW++ as Lucida Big Casual. It is also available from Apple (and is included with each Macintosh) as Textile. Notice that the shapes of the letters are exactly the same, but the names are vastly different. This is due to trademark law, since the names can be protected, but the shapes of the letters cannot.

What’s a Font?

Technically, a font is a typeface in a particular size. So “Arial” is a typeface and “Arial 14” is a font.

However, since the introduction of scalable digital typefaces two decades ago, these terms have become shorthand substitutes for one another. Even the extension on TrueType files is TTF for TrueType font.

Recently, TrueType fonts are being supplanted by OpenType, which include either TrueType or Type-1 Postscript.