Urban Field Notes: 16 Fonts on 16th Street — the City Through a PhoneApril 4, 2011
When a friend bought a home computer 20 years ago I wondered why. Back then, computers couldn't talk to each other: you couldn't download tunes, buy a book or a lamp, or schedule a flight. There wasn't any Google or Wikipedia or much of anything.
Now, I don't leave home without my pocket computer/phone/camera/clock/newspaper/music.
With a smartphone in my hand I can walk down the street and see on a map where I am, when the next bus is coming, what people say about that restaurant on the corner, and whether it's going to rain. I can friend and tweet, text or skype.
Unfortunately, the phone won't alert me to what a dog left in my path, or the car or bicycle heading my way. And when I’m staring into my palm I won't see the flesh-and-blood friend across the street, or smell the coffee.
I’ve got the world at my fingertips, and I could be anywhere. Or nowhere.
But the ways in which my smartphone can change my experience on the street continue to evolve. I recently took a walk along 16th Street from Market to Mission with my phone in hand, using an app called What the Font, which tries to identify fonts. I just take a picture, apply the app to the shot, and presto, it suggests the name of the font. Sometimes these suggestions are correct — based on resemblance to an actual documented font — but most of the time they have nothing to do with the typeface I just captured. But it's free and sometimes the name are a kick.
CC Sticky Fingers Italic
Minimiala Medium Italic
Lithia Off Kilter