Web-based Font Selection Systems

With so many fonts available on the market today, a simple alphabetical font list can't do the job and font vendors have accordingly devised a variety of ways to help users find the font they are looking for, leveraging the accessibility and power of the Web. Different tools are available, suitable to the offering of the vendor and the user's level of expertise. Such tools typically include these kinds of font classifications: style, letter shape, keywords, designer, foundry, usage and category. The list below covers the main tools available on the Web. If you have suggestions for additions, by all means contact us at: .


Identifont is an independently-run site that leads you through an easy-to-answer set of questions relative to font shape characteristics, in order to propose a list of fonts matching your responses, based on a "proprietary expert system". This process can be refined by providing it with one or more letters to use as a starting point. You can also search by font or designer, if you know their names. Search for symbol fonts via keyword is also provided. Results display an example of the font, with links to the font designer or vendor.


Describing itself as "the world's first interactive visual font search system" FontNavigator seeks to ease the font selection process, which "normally requires laborious searching through specimen books and Web sites". It currently displays results from the FontFont library but the site indicates more libraries will be added in the future. The system displays a tab that lets you choose a font's form from such terms as Humanist and then its criteria, by selecting radio buttons in categories such as Serif, Width, Angle, Weight and Contrast. TypeNavigator will then display the results, ranking from 1 to 5. Static font samples can be displayed and a Buy button leads to a screen that lets you display the font in characters of your choice. You can also look for a font or a designer by name, by using a simple search box.


Linotype's Font Explorer provides a Flash-based front end to help locate fonts from their library matching user-defined shape criteria. You begin by choosing from six broad classifications, such as Sans, Sans Serif and Script. You then select from six metrics, such as Obliqueness and x-Height, and drag the corresponding sliders to control the degree of modification. The amount of change is displayed numerically, while the Flash interface provides a rough real-time visualization. A Search button displays results with a small preview of the font, with the ability view a PDF sample, create your own sample of text, send an ecard or add your selection to your favorites.


Owned by Bitstream, MyFonts claims to provide the "best search tools in the business" and serves as the front end to fonts from a large number of libraries. The main search box returns results using a variety of criteria including descriptions and keywords, which can be suggested by visitors. Results display a small sample, which links to a page providing the ability to see font samples and the full character set. You can also display samples using characters of your own choice. Fonts can be added to personal "albums", much like visitor lists on Amazon.com. You can also browse fonts within certain groupings: categories (Sans Serif, Venetian, Glyphic), keywords and synonyms, foundries, designers, languages and alphabetical.

The Font Bureau

At Font Bureau you can search for a font from among their library by classifications (Sans, Script, Wacky), usage (Text, Display, Agate) and category (Book, Branding & Identity, Magazine). Clicking on the font of your choice takes you to a page displaying examples and allowing you display characters of your choice at a fixed size.

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