Any self respecting designer holds a special place in their heart for a properly kerned word, an elegant serif, or a satisfying counter. There are countless typographic blogs, books, and magazines dedicated to the subject but now there are some mobile apps beginning to pop up which can be used not only for mere entertainment but are also supplemental to a work environment. So whether you're seasoned designer looking for a new way to compare/browse fonts or a mere type fanatic who wants some playful ways to interact with typography, you've come to the right place. After the jump we have a wide range of apps which service all of the above.
The Typography Manual ($3.99)
For the iPhone and iPod Touch, this is an excellent typographic primer. It features a 60+ page book on type's history covering everything up until present day implementation on the web. There is an enormous glossary highlighting type terminology and demonstrates it on the letterforms themselves. More features include an Em calculator, style guide, and outside references for further reading.
Typography Insight ($1.99)
Created as a senior thesis project by Parson's graduate student Dong Yoon Park. It is an impressive accomplishment packed with useful tools to dissect many popular typefaces. This iPad app is an educational one at heart and is intended to utilize the dynamic interaction afforded by the iPad to create an engaging atmosphere for someone to study, rather than the flat page of a book. You can examine in great detail many classic and modern typefaces in their full alphabetic form or by individual glyphs. You can also juxtapose or overlay letterforms for easy comparison. The Type Inspector - Specimen section will let you closely examine unique characteristics of each typeface. Measure typefaces, learn about kerning, leading, tracking, basic terminology, history of type, and much much more with this app. We are very impressed by the effort and scale of this project and would highly recommend this app, particularly to support a young and ambitious designer.
Yay! One of our favorite typographic web services comes to the iPhone. MyFonts's WhatTheFont is a simple interface which allows the curious to upload an image containing text and the system will attempt to decipher what font the letters come from. It has been an invaluable tool in our research and general curiosity as we browse magazines and such. And now we can thankfully do it on the go by snapping a photo with your iPhone.
As it says, "if typography were a religion, this would be the Bible." This is yet another massive reference app for the iPad with a beautiful user interface and multiple browsing capabilities. Browse by classes, alphabetically, year, designer, or foundry. Compare typefaces and create favorite lists for ease of finding later.
This is a fun way to interact with type in real life. If you see an interesting example of typography, photograph it and upload it to the Typeplace server so others can see your finds and you can see theres and comment. There is a built in reward system with badges and awards for heavy users as well. It also integrates with Twitter so you can easily tweet your recent finds to your friends outside the Typeplace community.