MyFonts is a digital fonts distributor, based in Woburn, Massachusetts, selling fonts through the www.myfonts.com web site. It was created by Bitstream Inc., launched in September 1999 (during the ATypI conference in Boston), and started selling fonts in March 2000.
MyFonts pioneered a new model of font distribution, based on the long tail phenomenon: an all-inclusive inventory from which total sales can beat those of a carefully chosen collection. Every font that meets basic technical and legal criteria is accepted for distribution. Designers set their own license terms and their own prices, while MyFonts gets a 50 percent cut of sales.
Both large type foundries and the studios of individual type designers (also often called foundries) are represented at MyFonts. Classics such as Futura and Akzidenz-Grotesk sit alongside newer fonts, and in all, fonts from over 1100 foundries (in December 2012) are available for sale.
Although MyFonts is part of Monotype Corporation (which is a type foundry among other things), MyFonts says that sales figures alone determine a new font’s appearance in such high-visibility places as the Hot New Fonts page or the Rising Stars e-mail newsletter.
WhatTheFont font identification
MyFonts has a patented feature for identifying fonts from scanned images called WhatTheFont. It's almost entirely automated, unlike other solutions to font identification that either rely on a community of human identifiers or a series of questions.
A typical usage comprises three stages:
- the user uploads the image;
- the user is asked to verify the letters found in the image;
- the system immediately presents a list of potential matching fonts, with links for purchase
For clean scans of fonts that are in the MyFonts database, a correct or close identification is common. Whatever happens, the user then has the option of asking the WhatTheFont Forum of real volunteers to identify the typeface: the competitive element helps get quick identification. MyFonts has not provided details of the algorithms behind WhatTheFont.
- Grant, Angelynn (2008), "MyFonts.com: Changing the Way Type is Bought and Sold", Communication Arts (January/February): 106–109, ISSN 0010-3519
- Postrel, Virginia; Money, R (2008), "Playing to Type", Atlantic Monthly; Industrial Marketing Management 37 (January): 46, doi:10.1016/j.indmarman.2007.06.012, ISSN 1072-7825
- US 6853980