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This interactive map uses machine learning to arrange visually similar fonts

Typography enthusiasts likely already know how to identify fonts by name, but it’s always useful to explore visually similar fonts when you feel like changing up your options. Design consultant firm IDEO’s Font Map helps you do exactly that, with an interactive tool that lets you browse through fonts by clicking on them and seeing ones nearby that look similar, or by specifically searching for fonts by name.

IDEO software designer Kevin Ho built the map using a machine learning algorithm that can sort fonts by visual characteristics, like weight, serif or san-serif, and cursive or non-cursive. “Designers need an easier way to discover alternative fonts with the same aesthetic — so I decided to see if a machine learning algorithm could sort fonts by visual characteristics, and enabling designers to explore type in a new way,” he wrote in a blog post. The resulting map organized more than 750 fonts that are available for free through Google Fonts, should you want to download them.

Even if you’re not a designer, the map is pretty fun to get lost in. Services that compare and suggest visually similar fonts already exist, like Identifont and the blog Typewolf, but IDEO’s tool makes it easy to quickly browse and at the very least, appreciate all the options out there that help make the web more beautiful.


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