Fontshop.com used to have (at least I think it was them) a index of typefaces that you could use visual / structural specifics to search through their library of typefaces. It gave options for things like letter width, stroke thickness, serif or sans-serif, axis, among others. After entering in all the information it would show you a list of all the typefaces that fit within the specified parameters. Does anyone know what that was called? Does it still exist? Where can I find it? Is there a similar utility somewhere else?

Addendum: The Type Navigator is exactly it. Thanks, and I had forgotten about Identifont and you are right it is not specifically what I wanted. It may serve my purposes.

I am not good with names of typefaces and so being able to use characteristics such as uniform stroke-width and the style of the "g", geometic, and all the other things that Type Navigator allowed you to search for. Identifont has many similar things but it misses some things that I consider key.

If anyone has any other suggestions for a tool similar to Type Navigator or Identifont please let me know somehow. Thank you.

2 Answers 2


What you're looking for is FontShop's Type Navigator; the link appears to be dead.

Try Identifont; I don't think it's quite what you're after but you might find it to be helpful.

EDIT: I e-mailed FontShop to ask about TypeNav and this is the relevant part of the response. I guess they valued it for font identification more than browsing...

Our TypeNav feature no longer exists, as we now direct any font identification or search requests to our Research Team. If you have an image or screenshot of what the font looks like, please send it and your inquiry to [email protected] and they can help you identify that specific font or suggestions for a similar font since if we don't have that exact font available on our website.

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    Wow, that's frustrating. Shows they really don't know a business opportunity when they see one... I know I've wanted a good tool for browsing fonts by features for years. Looks like we're stuck randomly guessing keywords and hoping to hit lucky... which means less ideal fonts will be found, and means less fonts will be sold. facepalm Feb 11, 2013 at 14:34
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    Thanks for the extra info. one really nice thing about the TypeNav was how quick it could be and the discovery aspect. I know if you have a FontShop account they will identify for free but that could take hours or even days. And the result is a list of typefaces: great. Discovering things unexpectedly that maybe you were not looking for was a nice potential side effect of the TypeNav. Feb 11, 2013 at 18:40

There are a number of limitations with it, but Adobe Typekit's web interface's Browse Fonts page has faceted search that is the closest I'm aware of.

Here's a screenshot example of it set to find narrow, light sans-serifs with low contrast (i.e. even widths) and a high x-height:

enter image description here

It's a beautiful, clean, simple yet powerful piece of interface design. That's the good news.

The bad news is, the business model it's based on is about the least suitable there is for the kind of casual browsing and buying that this interface enables:

  • It only shows fonts available through Typekit. There are several thousand (Adobe don't seem to say how many) fonts on Typekit, but it's far from exhaustive - you're not browsing fonts, you're browsing a library of fonts chosen by Adobe.
  • Typekit is subscription based: great if you're already a subscriber, but really bad if you just want to buy just one font for just one purpose for an indefinite time period. There's no "just buy it" facility: they really want you to subscribe.
  • Some Typekit fonts are available to buy normally elsewhere, but not all. In my limited experience of using it, less than 20% have been available elsewhere (usually the old classics).

So, you could find yourself using this to browse, finding the perfect font, opening your wallet ready to buy it... and finding you've hit a wall because it makes no sense to start a long-term indefinite monthly subscription just for that one font, and there's no other way to get it.

One thing you could do though, is take a sample of that font, run it through WhatTheFont to find similar fonts that will accept some cash for a normal license, then buy those... Hardly convenient though.

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    I completely forgot about x-height! I feel like an ignoramus. And I wanted to call myself a designer. This is really helpful information I think even if the purpose is not for web. Between Identifont, WhatTheFont, FontShop's identification, and I found a basic search on FontFont as well—I can probably get pretty good info and find something really close to what I want even if it is not exact. Feb 11, 2013 at 18:45

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