The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. This is the famous pangram for anyone who pays attention to fonts and the art of typography. If you haven’t heard this ever, then it’s time to exit the arena because the battle could get bloody as we head to some of the font games mentioned below. There will be a lot of kerning and only the strong characters will survive. You can’t turn tail.
Well, I did manage to playfully throw in some font terms there. But it was all done to point out that playing around with typography can be fun. You will need little cajoling if you find web applications on fonts & typography interesting.
In typography, kerning is about adjusting the space between two letters for a proportionate look. Kern Type is a game that teaches this principle in a more entertaining and visually pleasing way. Words made up of different fonts are displayed on the screen. You are scored on how accurately you can space the fonts. Your efforts will be compared to that of a designer (typographer) and if you get it right, you hit a perfect score. The game can really amp your knowledge because you are not only learning about the aesthetics of typography but also about the fonts, their origins, and the designers behind them.
Shape Type is a game that is more difficult than the one above. You have to drag the outlines of the letter on the screen and create a proportionately shaped, aesthetically pleasing letter. The letters have been purposely bent out of shape and it is your familiarity with the font that will determine how well you manage to re-shape them correctly. You are again scored on how close you can come to the original.
Kern Type and Shape Type have been developed by Mark Mackay. Both HTML5 games are multi-touch capable and can be played on touch screens.
We have covered the extremely well designed “typographic dating game” in detail before. Fonts also need something called harmony to jive well together. Just like characters from real life, it’s all about finding what works well together for a loving relationship. TypeConnection allows you to play Cupid and match fonts with each other. Only the best couples will do. You may be playing the angel, but there are a lot of takeaways for you as well – learn typographic terminology, type history, and of course, the right pairings. If you really want to stay true to type and learn more about typography, the site’s Resources page is a treasure trove.
This is a straight-up font identification game. You are given a font and clues in the form of four possible answers. Get them right and your score goes up. You might love typography, but this is one difficult game if you are coming from a place where only Ariel, Times Roman, and Comic Sans ruled. You can also use the mobile version and carry it around for giving your font knowledge a nudge while on the move.
“Ragged” is typographic alignment along a margin. More specifically — the line breaks to the right of a paragraph. Font alignment is extremely important for the kind of design output that’s desired. Ragtime is timed game (60 seconds) that challenges you to fix a block of text with the arrow keys at your disposal. You have to use the arrow keys to properly align the text, all the while trying to concentrate as ragtime music blares in the background.
A word of advice. Don’t have your earphones plugged on in max volume. The sound of the shots nearly took my ears off. But that’s the game, where you prove how quickly you can spot a serif and shoot it down. You have to shoot while racing against the clock. The game has multiple levels and they get progressively difficult…but in the end you can holster your gun and walk away with a good knowledge of the differences between serif and a sans-serif fonts.
This is a story of revenge and retribution. The screenshot above tells you about the bad blood between the two fonts – Ariel and Helvetica. Helvetica is baying for blood and it comes in your form. This is one of those time-waster games we all like to play in the office between meetings.
We know little about the typographic sweat that goes into designing typographic elements for movie titles and posters. Usually they are done from the ground up, and some of them make it to movie hall of fame. For instance: The Godfather and Star Wars. The stylized names are as identifiable as the characters in a successful movie. Poster Letters is a simple quiz where you get to guess the name of the movie by looking at the visual cues of the single letter. You can cheat of course by clicking on the image of the letter…but resist that urge till you just begin to tear at your hair.
A simple enough font identification quiz which should help to exercise the right and left sides of your brain. Quests is another quiz within Type War which tests you with a particular subset of typefaces and/or letters. Here’s what a description of a “Quest” looks like:
Arial vs. Helvetica Neue across the upper and lower case letters (NOTE: This include glyphs that are practically indistinguishable.
Get them right and you rack up points, get them wrong and points are taken away.
Switch on the speakers because this is all audio. This is a fun font psychological interaction with a virtual mind doctor who tries to find out which typeface matches your personality by asking you through a series of questions. This is pretty cleaver and nicely put together. The psychological analysis isn’t bad either. I found out that I resemble a “dot-matrix” font in my characteristics. Tell me about yours in the comments.
Fonts are beautiful because they are design elements carefully put together by the best artistic brains out there. These ten typography games show that they can be fun too. But the essence of this is that a font is much more than a pretty face. They have history, and they have character. Do you agree? How interested are you in fonts? Which is your favorite font of them all?
Image Credit: tarale