The typeface trying to make reading easier for dyslexics

The typeface trying to make reading easier for dyslexics

"When they're reading, people with dyslexia often unconsciously switch, rotate and mirror letters in their minds" – Christian Boer

Some time ago, after a system update in my e-reader I discovered that a new typeface have been added. The typeface is called Dyslexie and I deemed it ugly, irregular and with an awful name. After all, to name a typeface after a mental disorder is at least bad taste. However, after searching more about it in google I began to think of it as the most important typeface of my e-reader.

Dyslexie typeface.

Here enters the Dutch designer Christian Boer. Being dyslexic, he knows very well the hardships that come with reading and having this in mind he tried to create a typeface able to minimize the problems that dyslexics have while reading. As Dyslexia seems to be related to problems in the process of transforming the symbols we read in sounds and these sounds in words, the designer perceived that himself and many other person who suffer from dyslexia can mistake letters in more or less predictable manners:

"When they're reading, people with dyslexia often unconsciously switch, rotate and mirror letters in their minds"

This confusion happens more often with other typefaces because they have many lines and strokes in common. These similarities make the “n” and the “u” be the same symbol, only inverted. Other examples are the letters “p”, “b” and “d” that usually are the same symbol mirrored of inverted.

To tackle this problem, Boer used irregular strokes and tried to create unique letterforms, even with letters that resemble each other. The idea is that the singular aspect of each letter can make it harder for the brain to mistake one for the other.

"By changing the shape of the characters so that each is distinctly unique, the letters will no longer match one another when rotated, flipped or mirrored," Boer said. "Bolder capitals and punctuation will ensure that users don't accidentally read into the beginning of the next sentence."

Dyslexie: variation and bigger sizes.

The Dyslexie has letters with broader bottoms to avoid being turned upside down. The use of the semi-italics and variable gaps in the letters are attempts to make them unique. Still, the punctuation signs and the uppercase letters are bigger to make highlight the beginning and the end of sentences. In other words, what at first seemed to me a badly executed and ugly typeface is, in fact, an inventive effort with a bigger objective than being just beautiful.

Dyslexie: Spacing and bigger uppercase.

Of course, this typeface doesn’t replace adequate medical advise, but any help is welcome. In this case, the efforts of a designer created the most important typeface in my e-reader, after all, it has even more opportunities to be helpful in interactive media. Beyond all the care in making it functional here’s also other controllable aspects like color, space and size. I talk so much about reading here that I had to post about this possibility of bringing even more people to this essential habit.

Read also about the Ontological Design. In this post I talk about how she tries to point a way for the Design studies and talks about the unsuspected importance it has in our lives.