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.
In November 2011 Monotype Imaging announced plans to acquire MyFonts and the other font-related parts of Bitstream for $50 million in cash. The acquisition was concluded in March 2012.
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-Grotesksit 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 the Rising Stars e-mail newsletter.
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:
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 algorithmsbehind WhatTheFont.
MyFonts was established in January 1999 as a division of Bitstream Inc. (NASDAQ: BITS) to create a new way of finding, trying and buying fonts. MyFonts created the MyFonts.com® website as a showcase of the world’s fonts available from one easy-to-use Web site. MyFonts.com hosts the largest collection of fonts ever assembled for on-line delivery, and offers easy ways to find and purchase fonts on-line.
MyFonts.com lets you search for fonts using any keyword you want. Use a descriptive term such as invitations, a font name such asBaskerville, or a foundry or designer’s name — and MyFonts.com returns the fonts that most closely match what you are searching for.
WhatTheFont™, one of MyFonts’s most popular features, lets you upload scanned images of fonts to the Web site, where WhatTheFont displays the closest match to your font sample.
With tens of thousands of fonts on one easy-to-use Web site and the best search tools in the business, MyFonts.com is sure to help you find the perfect font.