Got something to say? Make sure your friends actually see it.
Images stand out on sites like Facebook and Twitter, which is why many people put their text into images when they have something big to say. But breaking out Microsoft Word and taking a screenshot is boring – it’s better to make things visual.
Which is why we’ve got some great tools for you to check out today.
Whether you want to leave a birthday message on Facebook that will stand out from the crowd, or just want to lose a few minutes making something for the fun of it, the following sites give you ways to make text look fun. Let’s get started.
Type To Design (Web): Your Text, in Instagram Photos
It’s a growing trend offline: framed photos of letters alongside each other, together spelling a name or word. If you like that look, and want to make something similar online, Type To Design is the site you’re looking for. Using the Instagram photos from #36daysoftype, this simple site will turn anything you type into a series of photos. Just start typing to see your collage, instantly.
If you don’t like any of the letters you see, just click it and it will change. If you’re wondering where any particular letter came from, hover over it; a link to the original image on Instagram will pop up on right. Once you’ve happy with everything, you can download the image for sharing on social networks or anywhere else
NekoFont (Web): Your Text, in Cat Form
Like the above idea, but wish it included more cat pictures? Or only cat pictures? Me too.
Good news: NekoFont is exactly what we’re looking for. Just type anything you want, pick a size, and get your text back in kitten form.
If you want the Internet to pay attention to something, cats never hurt, so give this a try next time you need to leave a short note somewhere. You can download the resulting image when you’re done, for uploading anywhere.
Font Face Ninja (Chrome, Safari): Find Out What Fonts Sites Are Using
Sites that make images quickly are fun, but for something truly personal you need to get to work and design something yourself. Finding the right font is an important step.
Have you ever, while browsing the web, wondered what font you’re looking at? If so, you’re my kind of people. As a reward, here’s a browser extension you might like: Font Face Ninja. This plugin makes it easy to find out the name of any font on a web site. Just click the button and voila:
You not only discover the name of the font, but the size and spacing as well. Whether you want to replicate a look on your own site, or just add another font to your collection, this one is worth keeping in your virtual toolbox.
Get The Font: Search for, and Download Any Font
Found a font you like, but don’t know how to get it? We’ve outlined sites for downloading fonts, and tools for managing your font collection, but it’s always worth knowing about another tool for the job. Get The Font is a simple search tool that scans Github for fonts.
Github might not be the first place you’d think of finding fonts, but many open source projects make use of free fonts for their user interfaces. The result: if a front is available for use on the web, it’s probably hosted on Github somewhere. Get The Font lets you search everything quickly, so if there’s a free font you’ve been looking for check it out.
Remember: just because you’ve downloaded a font from this site doesn’t mean you have the right to use it. Make sure a font is free to use before you put it in a commercial project.
Fake Handwriting (Web): Type Anything; See It Written by Hand
We’ve shown you how to turn your handwriting into a font, but maybe you want something just a little more covert — and easy. Fake Handwriting is a fascinating project that uses machine learning algorithms to actually replicate handwriting. We’re not talking about something as simple as turning handwriting into a font; we’re talking about machines actually kind of learning to write in messy ways, making the sorts of mistakes that humans make.
It’s fascinating to play with.
You can actually read the study behind the project, if you’re really interested. My take: teaching kids to learn cursive is stupid, but teaching machines that same skill is surprisingly awesome.
What Did We Miss?
Do you know of any other sites that make boring text look downright fascinating? Let’s compile some more sites like this in the comments below, then! I’m really looking forward to learning more from you.