Mental Floss

Handheld Gadget Identifies Fonts and Colors in the Real World

Anna Green

It may seem strange, but there are still a few things in this world that you can’t just Google: the exact color value of a leaf seen on your walk to work, for instance, or the font used in the latest paperback you’re reading. But now, in order to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, graphic designer Fiona O’Leary has created a gadget, called the Spector, that can identify real-world fonts and colors.

WIRED explains that the Spector, which is in working prototype phase, photographs typefaces and colors, identifies them, and transfers them directly to InDesign. For instance, press the Spector against any object (a leaf, a candy wrapper, or a book cover, for instance) and it can automatically tell you that object’s CMYK/RGB values. Or press it against the text in a magazine or book, and it will identify the exact typeface used—and even automatically convert highlighted InDesign text to that font.

O’Leary tells WIRED that she hopes to eventually market the Spector but doesn’t yet have a timeline for doing so. Nevertheless, the device, which O’Leary calls a “physical eyedropper,” could one day help designers draw inspiration from the world around them, bringing real-world typefaces and colors into their projects at the press of a button. Check out the Spector prototype at work in the video above.

[h/t WIRED]

Banner Image Credit: Fiona O’Leary, Vimeo