Spector Identifies Fonts And Colors In The Physical WorldHave you ever looked at certain fonts or colors in the world and wondered how you could identify them? Besides taking a picture of the word or color and trying to figure it out later (good luck!), there aren’t many options. Enter Spector! Spector is a small, handheld device that acts like the Shazam of fonts and colors. With Shazam, all you need to do is open the application, hold your phone up to a song that is playing, and it will use its algorithm technology to find what the song is. Spector does the same thing only with fonts and colors.
A rundown on how Spector works from Wired:
Place Spector over a piece of media and depress the button on top. A camera inside photographs the sample, and an algorithm translates the image into information about the shape of the typeface, or the color’s CMYK/RGB values. Spector beams that information to a font or color database, which IDs the sample. If your computer is nearby, a custom plugin ports the font or color information to InDesign, where highlighted text or projects will automatically change to the typeface or color of your real-world sample. No computer? No problem. Spector can store up to 20 font samples, so you can transfer them to your computer later.
Spector’s creator, Fiona O’Leary, is a student at the Royal College of Art in London. O’Leary designed the device for her graduation project. She has a graphic design background and was fed up with certain fonts and colors not appearing the same in print as it does on the design screen. “If you’re going to design for print on screen, you should start with print,” O’Leary said.
Spector is still only a working prototype with no current plans for commercialization. Although it seems like a dream for anyone who uses fonts and colors regularly, there is still the small problem of typeface piracy. In graphic design, copyright rules are a little hazy. You can always get inspiration from certain fonts and colors, but some of those elements may need to be paid for as with any design.
We can still hope this tool becomes public someday. Meanwhile, we will stick to the old fashion way of taking a picture and hunting for hours on our computer databases. Once Spector is up and running, we can assume our phones will soon absorb the technology. Just imagine, “Siri, tell me what these fonts and colors are!”