Font MatchingNovember 25, 2007
Working in Prepress it’s quite an every day experience to be asked to match a type face to some artwork supplied, may be for body copy or for modifying or redrawing a logo.
Ordinarily to match a font you would use the excellent services supplied by either What the Font by scanning and uploading an image of the font or use another font identifying service such as Identifont to identify a font based on a particular glyph or glyphs.
When it comes to redrawing, more often than not, it’s best to just get on with drawing it. Most letter forms are quite forgiving, a 6 can be a 9, a letter p can become a letter b or a letter d. There’s nearly always some work required but you’re 99% there.
However, the Germans have developed a font that makes it very difficult to perform the usual tricks in a bid to defeat number plate crime. The font is FE-Mittelschrift. FE stands for Fälschungs-Erschwert, meaning ‘difficult to forge’. One letter cannot be easily transformed into another. A more in depth analysis is available form useful design, that also has a neat flash movie that shows how the letters are ‘unbreakable’.
It would be pretty difficult to match the font without a full character set to reference while redrawing it. For example the the 6 cannot easily be used to make a 9, unless you know what a 9 looks like. A letter P cannot be made into a letter R and so on. Yet it it still legible and pleasing to the eye.