Fonts,  Silhouette,  Small Crafting Business

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So, I’m guessing that this information will be more relevant for my business-oriented crafters ….. and my perfectionist friends. This is for when you have a customer send a picture and say ‘I want this EXACT thing’. No pressure, right? EXACT same font… colors… size…. EEK. To be honest, those are my nightmare projects to work on. I much prefer the ones I can be creative and work with my own ideas. Almost every time I give a customer a ‘exact’ project, I get horrible flop sweat- waiting for the criticism. Today, lets focus on identifying a font on a custom project… so you get the ‘WOW!’ instead of the ‘uhhh’.

These are by no means going to find you the literally exact, pixel-by-pixel font that your customer is totally insisting on.

I really suggest making a point to tell all of your customers ‘hey- I’m not perfect, but I’ll do the best I can’ from the get-go. I’ll post my ‘first date’ checklist soon. I use it as a form the customer fills out before I accept their custom orders. It sets the playing field and makes sure both sides understands what a ‘custom order’ means. This formality basically reminds them I’m human and sometimes things happen. I give them a time-frame to expect the finished project and ask all the questions I need to get started.

I also suggest sending a prototype before physically making the project. I’ll post the steps to make a mock-up in Silhouette to send to the customer. This is a BIG money and time saver. The last thing you want to do is make the project and the customer say ‘thats not what I wanted’. Now you’ve got design time, materials and man-hours invested…. only to start over for  the same sale price…

So….where was I? Oh, identifying fonts…. thanks for going on that little ADD journey with me…. 

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

What Font Is

This is a designer’s best friend! You can upload a picture and it will do its best to guess your font. Again, no one is perfect… but this will be a SUPER helpful first step to getting your customer exactly what they want (or exactly what YOU want if you’re the perfectionist I referred to earlier).

I personally think that WhatFontIs.com is by far the superior website to any other- I actually even recommend the paid version if you’re doing lots of custom items. While I love the free version of ANYTHING I can find, they do make it worthwhile for a small fee to get the upgraded version. The free and paid ‘wizards’ both let you ‘help’ the Identifier break it down to get a more accurate return. 

Another reason I am drawn to WhatFontIs.com is because I LOVE forum-type help. If their Identifier isn’t close enough for you, you can post the font to their forums and other ‘Font Fanatics’ will help guess what font it might be! I use forums and help groups for every single one of my design ‘puzzles’ I come across. Never underestimate other dweebs like you on the internet willing to help. They may just save your day….

It’s SUPER hard to tell because the font is SO tiny, but if you look up the first suggestion (Anodyne Regular), it is damn close to what I used for my logo. It even has the texture in the letters- just not as much distressing.

Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel was the first website I ever learned about that does this ‘Font Identifying’ task, so of course I have to mention it. It’s a lot more ‘bare-bones’ than WhatFontIs.com, but that may be easiest for YOU. If you just want to quickly grab what looks like a pretty simple font, this will do it with less steps than WhatFontIs.com. However, if you’re working with a more complex font, you may want to skip this site all together.

It’s CLOSE- but no cigar. If I chose this one, I would end up doing a good bit of work to get the texture. However, if that doesn’t matter- the shape of the letters is pretty spot on!

A few things to keep in mind…

  • The area behind your font (the background) can’t be busy- the more simple the image is, the greater chance it will bring you back the right font. These websites BASICALLY use the ‘Trace’ function in Silhouette to separate and identify the parts in a font that make it unique from other fonts. If your font is blue and theres a similar shade of green flower pattern in the background, the Identifier is going to struggle to separate the front from the background. Then you end up with a wonky font that isn’t what you’re looking for.
  • Most of the pictures your customers will want you to copy will be from Etsy or Pinterest. The designers who made the original design MOST LIKELY did something that will make the font almost impossible to match. Using glyphs, welding letters together and changing points on any of the letters will make it more difficult to identify. You may have to be patient and use the manual function to help the Identifier find your font. Also, remind your customer it is illegal (or at least morally dishonest) to copy someone’s work exactly. This could give you a bit of slack if the final project is a bit different.
  • These sites may help you find something close and you have to put in a little work to make it exact. Being a newbie business owner and completely over-zealous to get started, I made my logo on a iPad app…and I had no CLUE what font it is. The Identifier found the general shape of the font but NOT the texture. Then, if you’re hell-bent on getting it EXACT, you can layer it with a distressed texture.

I found out about Font Squirrel from DoNotDwell.com. I like this blog as a resource for small creative businesses. They don’t talk over your head like most blogs do. The video also mentions WhatFont- which is a Google Chrome Add-On. It will figure out fonts that are on websites. It seems like a neat app, but I don’t have Google Chrome and its not really relevant for most of my projects. It’s just as easy to pull a snapshot of the website to one of the other font sites and do it that way!

Check out my post about growing your font collection for free. It’s really helpful to slowly grow your font collection for free than need a font right now and have to pay for it! You’d be shocked what you can get for free!

Well, I hope that I helped point you in a general direction for that next stubborn projects…::cough cough:: and possibly stubborn client ::cough cough::

How do you decide which font to use?

LOVE YA’LL! GOOD LUCK WITH THOSE PROJECTS!

-MJ

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