I wasn't sure if this was the right category for this kind of question, but I'll ask it here anyway.
There are a number of font-identification apps (both web- and desktop-based) and it looks like this one is pretty good, but I thought I'd ask if anyone has experience using it: Find my Font
The free trial doesn't have the breadth of database access as the pro version and there's no refund if you pay for a license for the pro version. So, I'm just a little bit hesitant to fork out the $50 without knowing if it's as good as it seems to be.
As a side note, does anyone have a favorite software for this kind of thing?
Any particular search usually takes less than 20-30 seconds, usually much shorter, depending on how many fonts are installed on your computer.
It has numerous handy image tools, like correcting the baseline if the image is at an angle, or de-skewing the image, etc., to help you get the glyph shapes as good as you can before the search takes place.
It appears to have access (on their database) to approximately 145k different typefaces and their variants. Does it know about EVERY font out there? Definitely not, but I hope the company continues to expand its database. The search also checks the font files that have been installed on your own machine, but I couldn't find a way (yet) to include files in arbitrary directories, which would be nice. It also gives you the ability to simply browse around.
One thing I love about it, especially since I have been trying to identify typefaces that don't seem to be in use anymore, or at least have never been digitized, is that it introduces me to so many great alternatives that are similar to what I'm looking for and even has given me clues as to what it may have been called at the time (since I'm unable to find specimens).
And, believe it or not @Thomas Phinney, I think the interface works quite nicely. Could it be improved/modernized, probably, but everything is straightforward, fast, and easy to use.
The only thing that I could remotely complain about is that it sometimes recommends a typeface that I can't actually find online anymore, but the information they provide at least includes who created it, so it would be easy to contact them to see if the font is for sale or what happened to it.
Anyway, I'm quite happy with the purchase and highly recommend it. By far the best one of its kind that I've used, either off- or on-line.
I don't use it very much for identification. I use it mostly as a font manager / library browser.
and thank you very much for your detailed report!
I'm the designer of Find my Font, I'm proud of it and I'm really glad that somebody took the time to understand the philosophy and the value of our software. In fact, I just created an account here on typedrawers to reply to you!
Let me add some more details to your comments
Our search algorithm it's so fast that even the time you mention (20-30 secs) seems too long to me, unless you have 100-200.000 fonts or more. The matching speed is about 3-5 million fonts per minute, so even if you have 20-30.000 fonts, the search time must be around 2-5 secs.
I suspect that you have not yet indexed your fonts to achieve the full matching speed.
You can do this by going to menu Fonts => "FontSets Setup", select all your fontsets and click on "Create/Update Index". The index operation will take from minutes to hours (depending on the number of fonts) but it should be done only once and it makes the matching operation about 50X faster!
(If you add any new fonts to a fontset you should perform the "Create/Update Index" again to index your new fonts)
I can assure you that we make regular updates to our database every month and we are currently at about 150K fonts.
You can easily add all fonts under an arbitrary directory (no need to install them), just go to Fonts => "FontSets Setup", click on "Add FontSet" and select the root directory you want to add. This will add for matching all fonts in this directory and all sub-directories. You can also enable/disable any specific fontsets before matching.
We usually don't remove fonts from our database for reference reasons: To help people identify a font of an old design, even if the font is not available anymore. Sometimes we also keep old versions of the same font for the same reason, but only if the letters' shape has changed a lot from version to version.
Thank you again for your kind words!
If you have any more questions or any improvement suggestions I'll be glad to read them.
PS: Oh! I forgot to mention, that about a month ago we released "Find my Font mobile" a free app for iOS and Android: You take a picture with your camera or load a gallery image, you select some letters and the app will identify the font by connecting to our online font database. You can check it out and download the app here: Find my Font goes mobile
I am a very happy user of your software. I mostly do layout work with a healthy dose of advertising stuff and often need to match fonts. I would have less hair if not for your Find My Font software.
Thank you Mike, I'm glad that Find my Font saved some of your hair!