Finding fonts

Ivan Pope (yes, Ivan Pope) sent me a link to this very useful (and apparently infallible) typeface identifier. I could seriously have done with something like this about fifteen years ago when I was trying to make my living from ‘Desktop Publishing’ (remember ‘Desktop Publishing’?). It also reminds me of ageless Nico Macdonald, who worked in the same God-awful Desktop Publishing bureau and made an impression on me even then because he was the only person I’d ever met who organised the fonts on his Macintosh by historical period (he probably still does).


  1. Hey, works every day, day in day out. A million spammers can’t be wrong.
    Anyway, I sent the typeface identifier to Steve because he is the only person I have ever known (well) who was interested in fonts and knew something about them (unlike me who just went – that’s a nice one). He criticised me then for using Ariel and he probably would now, because I still do. Heh!

  2. OK, Ivan. I apologise. Since my blog got obliterated by hackers I now blog in other people’s comments but hadn’t returned to this thread for a while.

  3. Actually I don’t organise my fonts _at all_ any longer. As a writer I am only interested in cross-platform fonts that work on the Web — too few to bother organising! Back then I was helping designers to ‘do what they did better’ as they learned new tools. They really did care about font availability, and the precise cut. Organising fonts historically made a certain amount of sense. In about 1990 I remember Simon Esterson noting how little use typebooks were, and describing an electronic font previewer. It arrived, as part of ATM Deluxe, the best part of ten years later. A similar function is now included in Font Book, which ships with the current MacOS X. To keep Steve happy I will note to Ivan that the spelling is Arial. Ariel is a mythical spirit. Arial is the Helvetica-like font Microsoft inflicted on us, and it now the default for any laser-printed signage. (That said, my business identity uses Arial bold, which works well on the Web, and on litho and inkjet printers.)

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