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Distractions: Name-that-Font

The Editors


This column offers some amusements as a distraction from writing serious LaTeX and TeX documents. In this issue we offer several font-related contests with valuable first prizes, and PracTeX Journal souvenir postcard prizes for second and third place.

Feel free to suggest or send ideas for other distractions.

Rules for all contests: Send your answers by using the email link next to each contest. Enter as many contests as you like, but only one entry per person per contest please. Submissions must be received by March 31, 2006. Winners of each contest will be chosen as follows: after the submission deadline entries will be picked at random, and the first three with the most correct answers will receive the first, second, and third prizes for that contest. All decisions are final. Good luck.

Name that Font!

by Yves Peters and Tamye Riggs of
SOTA (Society of Typographic Aficionados).


Test your knowledge of serifs and swashes with this typographic treasure hunt. Below are text samples set in twelve typefaces currently available in digital format. Your assignment is to discover the name of each font shown. Each phrase is a clue that will help you identify that particular typeface. We've added an extra hint above each image for good measure.


Google, a thesaurus, and free association are your friends. Some of these glyphic gems are found in the far reaches of the internet, while others may be as close as your operating system. Compare letterforms with the type viewers available on most font foundry websites — these handy tools will offer the physical evidence you need to ensure you've found the right type.


The first part of this quiz is easy — six of the world's most common fonts are awaiting your examination. Be warned — the second set of challenging characters may cause alphabetic anxiety.

Hint: Refer to Tamye Riggs's article in this issue for links to online type samples. The words in the boxes and the hints above them do help. Some hints refer to the typeface name and some to the type designer.

These two contests were designed by Yves Peters, a (typo)graphic designer, rock drummer, and father of three who trained at FSI/MetaDesign Berlin and did a three-year stint as type expert/technical advisor at the Belgian FontShop. His talent for being able to identify most typefaces on sight, while utterly useless in daily life, garnered him the prestigious role of moderator of the Typophile Type Identification forum.




Enter this contest.


by Yves Peters and Tamye Riggs. First prize is the book, Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, second edition, by Erik Spiekermann and E.M. Ginger; published by Adobe Press. Retail value $30. Donated by FontShop.


1) Think inside the box.




2) Is it Willie or Ray?





3) Lines and spines.





4) The “Brown” identity.





5) Go to Helvetica.





6) Related to Jillette's partner?







Enter this contest.

by Yves Peters and Tamye Riggs. First prize is the two-book set with included CD-ROMs: Indie Fonts and Indie Fonts 2, both first editions, edited by James Grieshaber, Richard Kegler, and Tamye Riggs; published by P-Type Publications. Retail value $80. Donated by SOTA.


1) Concrete jungle?





2) Chuck's chum.





3) Not dry.




4) Related to Zsa Zsa?



5) Deep thoughts.





6) Muscular, en español.







Typeface Name Quiz

Enter this contest.

by Charles Bigelow. First prize is Lucida fonts (PCTeX, TUG), donated by Bigelow & Holmes Inc., retail value $145.

1. What famous novel (and the movie or movies made from it) has at least three characters having the last names of two well known type designers?

2. What typeface has had two different authorized names, one meaning bizarre or monstrous and the other signifying a country?

3. What typeface is named after the author of the first book printed in that type, a philosophical dialogue between two men hiking up a mountain?

Math Font Quiz

Enter this contest.

by Michael Spivak. First prize is MathTime Professional fonts, donated by Publish or Perish, Inc., retail value $179.

The quiz. It's challenging — answer as many questions as you can. (The quiz was typeset with MathTime Professional fonts, and the large symbols in questions 2 and 6 come from them.)

TeX Bug
Runner-up prizes: a TeX Bug cartoon postcard

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