Ever seen a great font on a website or advert or banner and thought…

“I wish I could find out what it is so I can use it for my own stuff…”?

The good news is there’s a simple and free way to do just that.

You don’t have to ask a graphic designer…

You don’t have to post questions on a forum…

You don’t have to spend 5 hours going through font directories…

You just go to a free website, hit a couple of buttons and hey presto, it’ll give you the answer.

It’s a bit like when you hear an unfamiliar piece of music that you like and use Shazam on your phone to listen to it and tell you what it is.

This works in the same way, only instead of analysing sounds it analyses an images.

Here’s what to do…

1. Get an image of the font in question

This is super easy. If you’ve seen the font on a website just screengrab a section of the webpage which contains the font and little else (preferably just several letters and/or words).

If you see a font offline, take a picture of it on your phone. Important: try to be dead on straight when you take a picture (no angles) otherwise the software will have trouble recognising it.

2. Go to one of the following font matching websites (they’re free)

You have 3 different font matching websites to choose from. All of them work in a very similar way and all of them are free.

In no particular order:

What the Font (by MyFonts)

Font Matcher (by FontSpring)

Font Identifier (by Font Squirrel)

When you click on any of the above links, the first thing you’re prompted to do is upload an image of the font that you want to identify.

This is easy, you can then either drag your image directly into the space provided or hit the upload button and select the image by browsing for it.

When you’ve done this it’ll display the image on screen and ask you to confirm ‘the crop’. In other words, it’s checking whether you’re happy that their software has identified the relevant part of the image (the bit containing the font).

If it has, great, you can click to the next step. If not just drag the edges of the box until it has.

On both Fontspring and What the Font it’ll also display ‘glyph’ boxes (or guide boxes) showing you which letters it’s going to analyse. You don’t need to do anything with these, it’s just an indication that the software has identified the letters.

3. Finally, click on the option or icon to match the font!

After it has performed its analysis it will display the font matches it has found.

Often it will come up with more than one here, so scroll through them and compare original image with the selections they have produced.

Pay close attention to the tails on the letters. How does top of the ‘a’ look, for example, is it rounded or sharp like the original? All these little clues will help you find the exact, or closest match if the results display more than one font.

On all 3 websites you then have the option to then download and use the font yourself. If it’s a free font – i.e. that you can use without paying the creator a license fee – this will be indicated and you can just click through, download and use it then and there.

Paid fonts it will normally show a price next to them and a link where you can pay for and download it should you wish.

And that’s it!

This is a simple way to match fonts you’ve seen on or offline.

One thing to note, while these are powerful tools they can only match fonts that exist in their databases.

That why sometimes it can be worth using the same image to match on all 3 sites mentioned if you don’t find the result you wanted the first time.

There will also be the odd font that it won’t be able to identify simply because it doesn’t exist on any known database. This can occur if a design agency or graphic designer has designed a bespoke font for a particular project that hasn’t been used elsewhere. However, even in these cases you will normally be matched with a font which is very similar and this should be more than adequate for most people’s purposes.

I hope you found this guide useful. If you’ve used font matching tools before or have any other hints or tips we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.