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Font Detective by Future Corp.

Discussion in 'Fonts and Typography' started by abadsvt, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. abadsvt

    abadsvt Member

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    What can anyone tell me about Font Detective software? Is the general opinion that it works, or not?
    I actually used this program some years ago and was impressed with the time saved searching for fonts. I still have the program but it does not seem to work as well with Vista, some glitch I can't seem to find.
    It seems strange that the program is so unavailable if it works as well as Future Corp. says it does. I also thought it was available as a stand alone program, but I can only find it bundled with Vinyl Master Pro now.

    What are the thoughts of my Brothers of the Brush? So much time spent on searching for fonts every day!
     
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  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I would imagine it has gone the way of it's predecessors and competitors ... which is to say died a long, withering death due to customer apathy and unrealistic expectations.

    Along with a programmer I hired, I developed the first application to identify an unknown typeface from a printed sample in 1994. It was named FontFinder™ and was available for both Windows and Macintosh. It worked very well for users who had printed type catalogs to look up the results but lacked an on-screen viewer. The product got good reviews from Publish magazine, Sign Business magazine, and a monthly newsletter published by the Professional Forensic Document Examiners Association. We spent a bunch of money in magazine ads and a booth at the ISA International Expo. Also got it into inventory with the company that went on to become TigerDirect/CompUSA. The results were about 250 units to forensic document examiners and various government agencies including the FBI, Secret Service and the CIA. The sign industry and commercial print/design community accounted for about 30 units total.

    We dropped our own product in favor of a European import named FontExpert and became the North American distributor for it. It featured a built in display of more than 30,000 fonts in its database plus the ability to add your own fonts to the database. That lasted a couple of years with the document examiners again buying in decent numbers but, again, designers, printers and sign guys staying uninvolved. Eventually we were replaced by Digital Art Solutions (formerly Smart Designs) who ran a very capable telephone marketing department and were able to get, from what I was told, better results than we did. Eventually the German publisher discontinued the product ... presumably due to unprofitable results because they are still in business.

    Font Detective was always a part of VinylMaster Pro and I seem to recall it was available separately at one point. Another program, ImagaroZ, also has font identification ability as part of its feature set.

    To this day I still use my FontExpert software to identify typefaces here at Signs 101. It works for me but I know others for whom it hasn't worked very well. The problem is that one needs to become reasonably well versed in type terminology and a knowledge of type history and who the players are and were. Secondarily, it helps if one has a large library of commercial fonts ... which I do. I've probably invested more just in fonts over the years than the majority of members here have invested overall in their businesses. (Not bragging or judging ... just stating a fact.)

    At any rate, except for a few old timers and font heads like Tiki, SignosaurusRex, Old Goat and me, the future of identifying fonts belongs to the web sites like whatthefont and whatfontis. It simply isn't a viable enough need to make a profit providing a solution.
     
  3. abadsvt

    abadsvt Member

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    Thank you Fred for the detailed response. I appreciate it.
     
  4. S'N'S

    S'N'S Active Member

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    I use Font Detective all the time, and the new version in the new Vinyl Master Pro/Xpt is even better. As far as I know its still only available from Future Corp as part of their sign software.
     
  5. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

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    the problem with software is it needs to be updated....especially since new fonts come out all the time...

    have you tried sites like whatthefont.com or whatfontis.com?? the first only searched commercial fonts, but the latter searches commercial and free fonts...
     
  6. S'N'S

    S'N'S Active Member

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    I honestly think "what the font" is a waste of time, it has never identified a font for me yet, regardless of how clean the sample image is.
     
  7. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

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    Really? I use wtf and wfi up to a dozen times a day and have a 80% success rate
     
  8. shaunmorrell

    shaunmorrell Member

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    Technical Reply: Font Detective is included with VinylMaster Xpt - as far as new fonts go you can search any fonts you like whenever they come out i.e. there's no need to update if you have the program.

    Thanks,
     
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