WhatFontIs vs WhatTheFont Font Identification Services

December 29, 2012

Many of you take advantage of the WhatTheFont service to identify fonts, partially because it has been built-in to later versions of CorelDRAW. I was contacted by the folks at WhatFontIs and they asked if I could write a review. I’m not sure this post will qualify as a review, but I ran a couple of samples through each service to see the results.

In order to test, I typed out some text in a known font installed on my system and filled them in red. I exported each of the samples as a fairly mediocre quality JPG that is only 200 pixels wide. I wanted something with less than ideal quality as that is a better test of the real world examples you need to identify. I’ve included each sample in this post so you can see them and use them in your own tests if you like.

Pretoria Font Sample
Our first font, shown above, came from one of those mega-collections sold in the mid-90s with a bunch of so-so quality fonts. It’s name is Pretoria and both services correctly identified it as the top choice. While neither service correctly identified the source collection of this font, they did get the name right and provided a link to a source for the font. Note that “a source” does not always mean a free source, especially when we are dealing with commercial fonts.

Babes in Toyland NF Font Sample
My second sample was the font I featured in yesterday’s blog, Babes in Toyland NF. Again, both services correctly identified the font. One difference I did note between the two is that WhatTheFont tries to fill in each of the letters used (not always correctly) where you must type them into WhatFontIs. In the second example, WhatTheFont incorrectly had capital letters in each box when only the first letter is truly a capital letter.

According to the folks at WhatFontIs, their database of fonts is much larger and includes more free fonts. I’m sure if I tested many more examples I could find a situation where one or the other service performed better on that example. The best advice I can give you is that you now have two good services you can use for font identification. Should one not work on a specific example, you can try the other service. My tests didn’t show either service to clearly be the best.

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4 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Have you tried a little program named “Printers Apprentice”? Not free but does give font information and other interesting aspects of the font. Take a look. Lose Your Mind Development at http://www.loseyourmind.com.

    Reply
  2. Pbruno315

    Hey Foster,

    I try to use that feature in my Corel X4, whenever anyone sends me a font in a logo or design,
    My problem with it is, I never have any of the fonts that they list, I have never heard of any of them.
    Do they even have the fonts that Corel gives you with the software?
    Makes no sense to me to have them as a feature, I think they are just there to sell you the fonts.
    And I have allot of fonts,

    Patricia

    Reply
  3. Foster D. Coburn III

    Patricia, the reasons are truly too numerous to list them all. When you get a logo, the shapes of the characters could have been manually manipulated and therefore never match any font. Or it could be that it was “hand drawn” so again there is no font that will match. Then there are the logos that are such low quality it would be impossible for any tool to find a match. Yes, the “free” services are kept alive by selling fonts. And no, their databases don’t contain every single font ever made…or even close to that. My guess is that I get a good answer about half the time.

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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