Mr ExD paints commercial signs by hand … shop signs, window signs, blackboard signs – you name it, he does it. Over the years we have developed a system where I set up the lettering to scale using my design software, print it off & he uses this as a template.
Generally we have a fair bit of freedom with font styles. Clients often have a vague idea of what they want … script & capitals, old style, pictorial etc. That works fine until we need to match branding & the client is clueless what font has been used because they don’t have a brand style guide!
Usually I have a small number of letters to work with from the logo so with that I go off & do research. Enter one of my favourite tools – IDENTIFONT. Identifont is an independent, internet directory of free digital fonts as well as those available for purchase. It uses a set of easy tools to match typefaces to your answers to a set of visual questions. Let me show you how it works…The image I’m working with is a single word from the clients logo. There are a number of distinctive elements in individual letters which I will be looking for.
It’s a narrow bold font. Sans serif (no little tails at the end of strokes). The letter ‘A’ has a rounded top, the ‘O’s’ have squared corners & the ‘K’ meets in the center of the upward stroke. So let’s see how we go finding out the name of the font … or at the very least getting a near match
limited set of letters
serif or sans?
The idea is that you either click the image which is most correct or if you’re not sure go for the button.
the 'K' junction
the 'A' style
still on the 'W'
segmented or dotted?
The system has presented us with 8 options, lets have a quick look at them. This one empire is too thin
All the fonts identfont has given me are fonts I don’t have in my collection. Now, if the font was a perfect match I would be happy to pay for it & pass the cost onto the client, however none of them are a perfect match. So it’s back to the drawing board.
I actually don’t need to replicate the word “Blackwood” in this sign, but we need to use the client’s branding to write the word “DINING”. With that in mind a strong recognition of the distinct characteristics of the font, I went searching through my collection of fonts.
Voila, I came up with Bebas Neue which is really close. I kerned the letters (adjust the spacing between the letters) & voila, who would know the difference at a glance?
Next time you’re looking for a specific font, give identifont.com a try?
We’d love to hear how you go, please post a comment below…