Dev Rangarajan
    Picking a font is way too hard

    This is the first part of a series I’m gonna do which is - turn project ideas into riffs/short essays, then turn those into tweets, monitor the feedback, and then build the best ones. Partially a way of getting this project temporarily off my mind, and partially a way of sharing more ideas on the internet.

    There is almost no experience in a word processor/piece of design software that’s worse than picking a font.

    Right now, the bog-standard, universally best chosen design decision is… an alphabetical list of font names.

    Font names have nothing to do with anything! They’re just some random shit a foundry thought was a cool name, and then it stuck. Do you have any idea what the difference is between Tunga and Phosphate?

    Hell no, unless you’re either a. a designer or b. someone who has the time to scroll through hundreds of fonts and look at each one (aka me at 5 years old, because that was a fun thing to do on the cool new windows xp machine that didn’t have internet access)

    But 15 years later the process is identical, nothing has changed about the microsoft word font picker bar.

    Even in brand new products like docs, figma, canva - there is no good way of looking at all your available fonts.

    Adobe - the multibillion dollar corporation who owns literally everything design doesn’t even have a good font product.

    Do fonts matter a ton? No not really - but plenty of people get paid lots of money to pick good ones.

    So there should be a better, cheaper way to find the right font than hiring someone whose seen all of them.

    Here’s my solution: Font Finder

    Font Finder is a graphical search engine.

    It uses clustering algorithms to group 1000s of fonts into different sections, and then it creates averages of those sections:

    When you’re first starting to pick a font for a project, you just look at the averages (there are probably 300 fonts that all look pretty similar to Times New Roman, but aren’t quite Times New Roman - they all go in the same bucket).

    Then you, a normal human being with eyes and some taste, just pick the average bucket you like most.

    That average bucket then reclusters into 4 more clusters, each with its own slight variations, and you keep niching down.

    Instead of looking through 1000s of fonts, you just make a simple decision between 4 fonts 5 times, and suddenly you’ve picked your perfect font out of 1024 fonts, and it didn’t require a single bit of scrolling.

    I think there could be a whole company around clustering aesthetic items to help people make decisions, and I think font finder is a killer mvp for that company.

    Let me know what you think.

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