I am not a graphic designer, but I must find a font that has these considerations:
- Readable onscreen at small (8-10px) sizes
- Distinguishes readily between I, l, and 1 (Upper I, Lower L, and one)
- A touch fancy, such as slightly sculpted letters or a surprise twist in a letter
- GPL-compatible license. I will be redistributing the font in an open source application
The last requirement is often in conflict with the first, but nicely compliments the second. The Ubuntu font does match all the considerations, however I would prefer something a little more distinctive or fancy now that the Ubuntu font is so popular.
To clarify: I am not looking for a specific font recommendation as an answer (though if you do have a suggestion then a comment would be well appreciated) but rather to know what font-selection tools are available. I have found that identifont.com has a nice "Fonts by similarity" tool that lets the user describe the desired font, however that tool does not seem to cover GPL-compatible fonts.