I get this question all the time from clients who are trying to update their publications. I am nowhere close to a font expert and will usually scan one of the online font directories looking for something close. Those days are over, as I just learned about a cool feature at www.myfonts.com. Click on “What the Font” and you can upload an image of a word. As a test, I tried it with a client’s logo where I knew the font. It didn’t return the correct font, but two of the three choices it did return were so close that I couldn’t tell the difference. And it only took about two minutes. Much better than endless scanning of font directories!
Another font ID site is www.identifont.com. I’m less crazy about this site, but if you don’t have an image you can upload, it could work. It asks you a series of questions about the font you are trying to identify. It asks about the way specific letters look, so you need a good sample of text to make it work. I tried it with the same client’s logo, which contains only three letters, and gave up after answering about 30 questions, because it kept asking me about letters I didn’t have in front of me.