On the 9th of May 1941 the Enigma machine, used by Germany to encrypt its secret messages and orders was captured on board a submarine by the British. Arguably this was the beginning of the end for the battle for Britain. Had this piece of machinery not been used with so much success, the resources the English War Machine needed to stay operational and the food and supplies the people needed to stay alive and keep fighting would not have reached the places where they were so direly needed. Also, the video games where we get to shoot Nazis by the gazillion would have never existed.
All the aforementioned games have a couple of things in common, beside the wholesale slaughter of field-gray pixels, among which the incredibly complicated documents that the Germans use in the virtual world and the even more so complicated Gothic fonts that they seemed to love. Check out Return to Castle Wolfenstein for a taste. As a child I was very much impressed by them and thought that just by using such a font, would up the coolness level of school projects by a metric ton. Whether I was or not right cannot be measured now however now I at least have the option to find the exact font that the game programmers used to sway me over.
WhatFontIs makes for an invaluable tool if you’re facing the type of problem I was. Choosing the right font for a project is of the utmost importance and sometimes it just so happens that you see it in use somewhere and don’t have the option to ask somebody what it is. That’s where the below process comes into play and lets you simply find out for yourself. Using a database that covers 280,000 and counting fonts, this website lets you upload a file that has the font you need or just put in a URL to where it can be found. In the Wolfenstein example, it would be a screenshot of one of the documents that fascinated me.
The next step, pictured above, is to confirm the characters that the software managed to recognize. As you can see from my screenshot, I checked the ‘more components per letter’ box because there was an ‘i’ somewhere in there. Hitting the Continue button is the last thing that you have to do, everything else is handled automatically and will produce, on the next page you’re presented with, a list of 100 fonts that match the one submitted.
I particularly like the fact that it always gives you a reminder of what the original was, so that you can compare it against the search results. As you can see, it managed to find two fonts that look exactly the same as my example. From this point forward you just have to download the font and start using it. This type of a tool can save you a lot of time you probably don’t have and can turn out to be a money saver because of the free alternatives it gives. All in all, a great resource to have and to use.You can learn more about this tool here.