Elliots Apollo Blue Eye Shadow = Chasline

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Stephen Coles's picture
Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am
Elliots Apollo Blue Eye Shadow = Chasline

Among other mysteries of Agfa’s Fonts.com is this:

Search for “shadow”. Results include two Apollo
Program fonts, Blue Eye Shadow and Jigsaw Dropshadow.
“Huh?” says I, “Agfa is distributing Emigre fonts
now?” A click on Blue Eye Shadow reveals this page:

This font is not available from AGFA-Monotype.
However, we can supply the following alternatives that
are similar in appearance or similar in concept to
Elliotts Apollo Blue Eye Shadow:

Listed are about 15 Agfa Monotype fonts with no
relation to one another, let alone Blue Eye Shadow.
Perhaps this is some faulty Identifont output,
but I’m still very confused, and the standard user will
be even more so.

brian jaramillo's picture
Joined: 3 Nov 2001 - 11:00am

Very interesting.

Mysterious…or sinister?

Confused user…or mislead?

This would be good as satire.

Hmmmm. Find out more, Scoles.


Stephen Coles's picture
Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am

Very very funny, Joe. From now on I’ll send you
my odd discoveries instead of posting so you
can Pembertize them for Typophile. Your delivery
is far more entertaining.


Mark Simonson's picture
Joined: 3 Dec 2001 - 11:00am

I know what’s behind this. I submitted all of my fonts to Identifont last year.

I had a similar thing happen when I tried AGFA’s Identifont thing to search my own fonts. The Identifont database includes lots of fonts that AGFA doesn’t sell. It also uses a system for matching fonts based on a sort of 20 questions strategy. Fonts that give roughly the same answers will be grouped together. This will usually identify the correct font, but the “similar” fonts won’t necessarilly look the same.

A more subtle problem I found was that it correctly identified fonts of mine that are licensed to FontHaus, but incorrectly stated that they were unavailable from AGFA, despite the fact that FontHause sublicenses all of them to AGFA. You can even find them on the AGFA site by other means. This is because the Identifont database only knows about the main licensee, not the sublicensees. If you go to the Identifont site and search for fonts, it will display links to whatever sources it knows about. But when AGFA uses it, they change the results so if the source isn’t AGFA, they offer the “similar” fonts they do sell and hide the links to the other foundries and distributors.

It’s kind of stinky, but then I don’t really like it as much when someone buys one of my fonts from a sublicensee like AFGA instead of FontHaus since I only get half my usual cut. So I don’t really care.

If you like the Identifont system, use it on their own site (http://www.identifont.com) and not on AGFA’s site. You’ll get less biased purchasing information.

The most ironic thing for me is that the only other typeface that matches my Proxima Sans, according to Identifont, is Arial. Excuse me while I go shoot myself…

Stephen Coles's picture
Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am

A reply from Agfa:

Our Quick Font Search feature has been provided for our users to find the
font that they are looking for despite the fact that it could be sold by
someone else. Our goal at Fonts.com is to give people information about ALL
fonts. Of course if we do not sell the font that they are looking for, we
would like to suggest to them a suitable alternative that we do carry.

Like any system having so many entries, it is not perfect, and I appreciate
your comments as they can help to make the product better. I will refer your
comments to the people who maintain this utility on our end. Please be sure
to let us know if you have any other comments. Thanks again for letting us

Thanks for visiting Fonts.com.
We appreciate your business.

David Harned
Manager, Internet Development
Agfa Monotype Corporation

Stephen Coles's picture
Joined: 14 May 2001 - 11:00am

There is one distributor that is doing it right.

I’m often surprised how accurate MyFonts.com’s
“see also” suggestions are. As far as I can
tell, related fonts are found solely by matching
keywords. As long as whoever enters the keywords
for each font is smart and thorough, the first few
results are decent.

An example: “more fonts like” Mark Simonson’s
wonderful Blakely.

Yes, there are plenty of narrow art deco faces
missing on this page, but this system has a lot
of potential if some more work is put into the
keywording. Ahem, MyFonts.com… hire me.


Joe Pemberton's picture
Joined: 8 Apr 2002 - 3:36pm

While I can appreciate this from a pure
marketing standpoint, it seems a little shady.
Tarzana is “similar in concept” to Missive?
That’s a major stretch, at best.

I’d prefer if it were more honest. Something
like, “We don’t sell Tarzana, but if you want,
you could buy Missive instead. It’s not quite
what you wanted, but people won’t notice if
they squint hard.”

Joe Pemberton's picture
Joined: 8 Apr 2002 - 3:36pm

The Amazon equivalent:

“Users who bought Missive from Fonts.com wished
they bought Tarzana from Emigre.com.”