Font of Inspiration


Font of Inspiration

Don't spare your feelings; you'll need them when using this typeface search engine

A carefully chosen font can carry the tone of a print message, but even hours of sifting through gluttonous font disks sometimes won't turn up the perfect face. A German company invented a more subjective way to typecast: it classifies 3,900 fonts by the feelings they convey and offers a search engine for narrowing the choices.

FontExplorer by Linotype Library GmbH, available for $15 on CD-ROM, sorts faces according to general terms – it'll find all the sans serif fonts (those with "feet") or list all faces commonly used in newspaper publishing, for example – then weeds them out in varying degrees of choosiness according to the face's "mood." Using sliding buttons on degree scales, users decide whether they want fancy rather than ordinary fonts; a warmer, cheaper feel than a frosty, high-priced one; or one with more of a feminine touch than masculine.

Another menu scrolls a timeline to find fonts that reflect a desired historical era. If you're promoting feminine, ancient-inspired jewelry, a historical search suggests Columna® or Pompeijana as your fonts of choice. Designating the shape and size of serifs, the size of line strokes and the height and length of ascenders and descenders on letters further limits the number of fonts that turn up in a search.

The fonts come with the CD-ROM, but owners need to pay for the fonts they want in order to "unlock" the files for use. Linotype Library offers instant payment and registration on its Web site or by fax. For more information, contact the company's American affiliate, Type Associates Inc., Huntington Station, NY 11746; (516) 549-4472, fax (516) 549-5847,

– by Stacey King

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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