How many times have you stumbled upon a particularly attractive typeface and wished that you had the means to identify it? I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely found myself in this situation many times. On street signs, on magazine spreads, on book covers, on film title sequences, on practically any medium that conveys words, there’s the probability of seeing an interesting yet unfamiliar typeface. If you know someone who’s a true-blue typography junkie, you’re in luck. But not all of us are friends with people who can identify typefaces as easily as skilled musicians can recognize notes. Google can help, of course, but only to a certain extent. It’s this particular void that a new app called Fontli aims to fill.
Fontli is what you get when you take the Instagram model and apply it specifically to typography. It’s a photography app that lets you take photos of stuff with fonts that you think are quite good, and then share those photos with others in the Fontli network. If you’re interested in knowing the name of a font used in a photo, you can ask your Fontli friends to “spot” or identify it for you. Conversely, you can also help others by spotting the fonts in their photos.
Like Instagram, Fontli is designed only for the iPhone and is available in the App Store for free. At the moment, though, Fontli is nowhere near the level of popularity of Instagram. It’s rather quiet, which is understandable since it’s a newly launched service. I’m hoping that over time more people will sign up for it, so that more users will be able to share and discover new and hidden typographic gems. There’s more to typography than Helvetica, you know.