Typefaces and fonts might seem like something that only graphic designers and typographers might care about. However, readable typefaces are incredibly important to many people that have learning disabilities. People with dyslexia are one of these groups. According to research from the University of Michigan, roughly 5–10 percent of the population has dyslexia. Luckily, in the past year, at least two dyslexic-friendly fonts have been created and are free to download for personal use!
Dyslexie is a font that is friendly for users with dyslexia, created by graphic designer Christian Boer, a dyslexic himself. “When they’re reading, people with dyslexia often unconsciously switch, rotate and mirror lets in their minds,” Boer explains in the British magazine Dezeen. “Traditional typefaces make this worse, because they base some letter designs on others, inadvertently creating ‘twin letters’ for people with dyslexia.” Dyslexie is similar to another font, Open Dyslexic, which is also specifically made for dyslexic users.
The font has received positive reviews thus far. Prior to its launch earlier in November, there were multiple rounds of survey research. Results from a 2012 survey of dyslexics using Dyslexie showed that they read 84.3% of participants read faster, 77.8% made fewer mistakes, and 76.8% would recommend Dyslexie to someone else.
To solve the problem of duplicating letters, Boer designed Dyslexie with very bottom heavy letters, which makes it less likely that readers might confuse them. Boer also slightly adjusted the openings and angles for some letters for the same reason; for example, the “b” and “d” have been tilted to differentiate the two from each other. The font is a dark blue color, which Boer explains, “is more pleasant to read for dyslexics.”
This is an exciting moment in the history of dyslexia research. Not only does it appear that Dyslexie will help dyslexics in the present, but it may also provide researchers with some valuable insights into how dyslexia works.
Dyslexie is currently on show at the Istanbul Design Biennial.
What do you think about Dyslexie and Open Dyslexic? Would you use one of these fonts?