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Typefaces for dyslexics
New Hampshire or Spain-based dyslexic creator of Open Dyslexic (2011), a free font specially designed for dyslexia, developed on the basis of Bitstream Vera Sans.
Leo Kelion writes for the BBC: The OpenDyslexic font is designed to give "gravity" to letters to prevent the characters rotating in readers' minds.
Other type designs by Gonzalez include Eulexia and Alpha Symbolic (a "dyslexic notation" typeface that uses symmetric symbols to reduce confusion in the alphabet).
Dafont link. Open Font Library link. Github link. Open Dyslexic link. Free download of Open Dyslexic. [Google] [More] ⦿
Abelardo Gonzalez is the New Hampshire-based dyslexic creator of Open Dyslexic (2011), a free font specially designed for dyslexia, developed on the basis of Bitstream Vera Sans. The trick he used, a thickening of the bottoms of the characters, had been used earlier by Dutch designer Christian Boer in a font called Dyslexie, which sells for $69 $USD per single-use license. Boer did not like the fact that Gonzalez's font was cheaper.
Boer sent a cease-and-desist letter, even though the two fonts in question are quite dissimilar. Quoting Abelardo's reaction: Legal threats are not awesome. And making threats of violence against others to prevent competition is not very nice. It's really just preventing others from filling a gap in the market. And, if his work is really high quality work, he shouldn't have to resort to threatening me to succeed. He would succeed without them. I don't like seeing legal threats happen to others, and I really, really did not like it happening to me. His demands were also unreasonable.
The end result? Abelardo's typeface is now free, and the dyslexic community has a great free font for its own use. [Google] [More] ⦿
Ph.D. student at the University of Reading. Thesis topic: The role typography plays in developing symbol imagery skills for literacy in children with dyslexia. [Google] [More] ⦿
Alejandro Valdéz Sanabria
Alessandro Da Corte
Italian medical doctor with a PhD in neurology and neurophysiology. She currently works as a clinical neurophysiologist at Charing Cross Hospital in the UK and is also involved in academic research into the autonomic and peripheral nervous systems. Together with Bruno Maag she researches the physiological emotional impact of different type styles. At ATypI Sao Paulo 2015, her talk, together with Dalton Maag, is entitled Busting the Dyslexia Myth. As the master communicator of type design, Dalton Maag shows that nearly all dyslexia type research in the past was ignorant. Witness the abstract of the Nicotra / Maag talk at ATypI: There have been a number of fonts in recent years which claim to improve reading for people with dyslexia. Many of these designs have a handwritten quality, similar to Comic Sans. Often, the designers of these fonts claim to understand what is required to design a dyslexic font, simply by virtue of being dyslexic themselves. There may be some design merit to these fonts but the claim that they are favourable to dyslexics is misleading, and shows a complete lack of understanding what dyslexia is. The presentation will critique the designs that claim to be "the font for dyslexia", based on a scientific overview of dyslexia, and how dyslexia is dependent on language and other factors. It will also highlight the ignorance of design institutions that have awarded MAs and PhDs for fonts designed in the name of dyslexia. The talk was forceful, entertaining and convincing, based on an analysis of various pathways in the brain. For one thing, opaque languages (i.e., with a very tentative connection between what is written and spoken, as in English) have a higher population density of dyslexia. Italian and German are notr opque and thus fare better. Alessia also spoke at ATypI 2014 in Barcelona. Speaker at ATypI 2016 in Warsaw: Bruno Maag and Alessia Nicotra review a selection of studies published in regards to the emotional and functional qualities of typefaces since Poffenberger in 1927. The presentation investigates the methodologies employed and questions the results in the cultural and technological contexts of their time, and provide guidance as to their relevance today. [Google] [More] ⦿
Alex Reyes created Modular Font (2014, circle-based) and Dyslexia (2014). Dyslexia is not---as the name might suggest--a font to aid dyslexic readers. Instead, it is a typeface that emulates how dyslexics perceive letters. [Google] [More] ⦿
Belgian artist, b. 1954, Antwerpen. The DITT writes this about him: André is an adult dyslexic. At Bridges 2009, he presented an experimental typeface on which he had been working since 1975, under the title Zen Art. In 2007, he created another experimental geometric face, Alphabet Candy. [Google] [More] ⦿
Graphic designer in Lyon, France. She created the colorful textured geometric solid typeface Dyslexie (2013), the geometric display typeface Codex (2016), and the connect-the-dots electronic circuit typeface Le Lien (2016, FontStruct). [Google] [More] ⦿
Edinburgh, Scotland-based company specializing in books for dyslexic children. For that purpose, they developed or acquired a very legible proprietary font. [Google] [More] ⦿
Parisian designer of the thin condensed high-contrast typeface Lunatique (2013) and the display typefaces Sedegren (2014) and Dyslexia (2014). Behance link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Christiaan Theo Boer
Codesign (or: Aviation Partners, or AVP)
Nicholas Garner (b. 1949, Windsor) runs Codesign (or: Aviation Partners), a small London-based design firm which has created these commercial type families:
Showcase of Nicholas Garner's typefaces. [Google] [MyFonts] [More] ⦿
London-based graphic designer who wants to show the world how dyslexics perceive words and letters. For that purpose, he created Dyslexia (2015), a special typeface. [Google] [More] ⦿
David Santos (Porto, Portugal) has a design degree from the Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal (2011) and a masters degree in graphic design from the Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto (2013), where he researched typefaces for dyslexics. In his type design class at FBAUP, he co-designed a decorative caps typeface with Francisca Paiva, Maria Branco and Margarida Basto in 2013. [Google] [More] ⦿
Albert-Jan Pool discusses the lack of scientific research that went into specially designed typefaces such as Dyslexie, Open Dyslectic, and Sylexiad. He supports well-tested experiments that compare many typefaces in controlled tests. In particular, he points out the work in the Ph.D. dissertation of Ann Bessemans at the University of Leiden, who (in Albert-Jan's words) scientifically tested modified versions of Frutiger and DTL Documenta that were distorted in ways that are similar to those in Dyslexia [the typeface] against the non-distorted versions of these typefaces. It was proved that none of this kind of distortions were of any help. The only kind of distortion that seems to help is one in which she changed the horizontal proportions by widening and narrowing some of the characters. But this was only of help for children who are beginning to read, it did not seem to be of any help for children with more reading experience. [Google] [More] ⦿
A list of articles discussing the pros and cons of certain typefaces for dyslexics:
The Dyslexic Font designed in 2022 by Lausanne, Switzerland-based artist Rocio Egio (b. Alicante, Spain) and Gurugram, India-based creative designer Pranav Bhardwaj uses colours, inversions and tilted positions. It is meant to emulate Egio's own experience with the alphabet. [Google] [More] ⦿
Dyslexica Font Foundry
Type foundry in Covington, GA, est. 2013. The goals of the foundry are to provide quality fonts and to develop dyslexic friendly font families and variations.
Fonts from 2013 include Perkly (a rounded geometric stackable sans family).
In 2016, Robert published Prolexia. [Google] [MyFonts] [More] ⦿
Federico Alfonsetti designed the highly legible font family Easy Reading in 2009. It is used on many web sites, including at the University of Turin, and is recommended by the designer for use by dyslexics. A comparative study was carried out by Dr. Christina Bachmann that showed the value of the font. [Google] [More] ⦿
The Fabula typeface was originally designed as a screen font as part of a project that produced software to enable children and teachers to produce bilingual story books. Since then, changes have been made to its design and it is now, additionally, a font suitable for titling and text setting in large sizes. Fabula was designed by a team led by Sue Walker that included Conrad Taylor, Vincent Connare, Gerry Leonidas and José Scaglione.
Sue writes: It has been used in a series of tests designed to find out what children in year 2 think about typefaces in the books they read. They descibed Fabula as 'clear, so you can see it properly'; 'normal'; 'like an ordinary book'.
Stylistically, Fabula has long ascenders and descenders (to help identify the word shapes), an informal feel, rounded terminals, a rounded e, a clear distinction between characters that might be easily confused, such as the (a, o) pair and the (l, 1) pair.
Fabula 1 has a double storey a. Fabula 2 has a single storey a. [Google] [More] ⦿
Italian designer of DS Greta (2021), a hand-crafted typeface advertized as dyslexic-friendly). [Google] [MyFonts] [More] ⦿
Fonts for dyslexics: comments by Stephan Peters
Stephan Peters gives his opinions on fonts for dyslexics (in 2020) based on opinions by dyslexics.
He adds: There's a lot of misinformation out there about "dyslexic fonts." Dyslexie is OK, but looks awful artistically. Open Dyslexic, which attempts to emulate Dyslexie is REALLY TERRIBLE! It is a disservice to people with dyslexia. Studies show it is not a helpful font [...] It has a high x-height, which leads to lower ascenders. p and q are just reversed, b and d are just reversed.... Terrible kerning... m looks like the Latin ligature rn... I could go on and on. [...] In reality, line height and font size have more to do with readability than the actual font, there are studies that show this, too. [Google] [More] ⦿
Foundry whose fonts are sold via Fontworks UK, who write: The Heinemann fonts were initially developed by the in-house design team at Heinemann educational publishing out of the necessity to find the perfect font for use in early primary reading books and literacy products. Basic Heinemann is defined by longer ascenders and descenders which help children to distinguish between letters; rounded edges on all letterforms help focus the reader on the individual letter shape; and modified characters (e.g., a, g) ensure instant recognition of letterforms. Heinemann Special offers further modified characters and kerning pairs ideal for dyslexic or special needs use (eg a, d, b). The Heinemann fonts were developed in partnership with children, literacy advisors, teachers of special needs/dyslexia and primary school teachers, and are now released in response to hundreds of requests from publishers, designers and teachers to purchase them. They have been trialled in schools and learning institutions over an 8 year period, and are a favourite for use in both print and electronic product. Heinemann is a 12-style sans family. [Google] [MyFonts] [More] ⦿
Infant characters include simple versions of characters, such as the single storey "a" and "g". They seem to be helpful for beginning readers. There is no strong evidence that they are to be preferred over standard forms of these characters for readers that have difficulties. [Google] [More] ⦿
Alejandro Valdéz's web site and blog, in Spanish, from Asuncion, Paraguay. Sarakanda is a typeface he made for dyslexics. Arguing in terms of bouma (word outlines), the font was developed to create bouncy and individualistic boumas by working on the ends of the ascenders and descenders. His script typeface López won an award at Tipos Latinos 2010.
His [old] bibliography on typography and dyslexia [dead URL]. FADU-UBA link. Old URL. [Google] [More] ⦿
Graduate of the University of Wales in Newport (BA, class of 2012), Cardiff University (Master of Design, 2013) and the TDi program at the University of Reading, UK, 2017. Whilst studying for his Masters of Design at Cardiff Metropolitan, he developed a dyslexia friendly concept typeface supported by research and rigorous testing. He currently is the Lead Graphic & Presentation Designer at Jaguar Land Rover. [Google] [More] ⦿
London-based designer of the free sans typeface Askew (2014), which was designed for dyslexics duiring her studies at Chelsea College of Art. Behance link. [Google] [More] ⦿
During his studies in Zagrebacka Dubrava, Croatia, Josep Drdic created an experimental typeface called Dyslexia (2013). He also created the decorative typeface Sea (2013). [Google] [More] ⦿
Over 600 million people in the world are dyslexic. Kanny Yeung (New York City) started a typography project in 2012 to address two types of Dyslexia. Kanny introduced an alphabet that has very different glyphs, and is remotely related to Latin.
In 2014, she made the organic typeface Kanny Sans. Behance link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Kate Butcher is from Cape Town, south Africa. She created the font Dyslexia (2011) which is intended to make non-dyslexic people read like dyslexic folk. [Google] [More] ⦿
K-Type is Keith Bates' (b. 1951, Liverpool) foundry in Manchester, UK, est. 2003. Keith works as an Art&Design teacher at a Salford High School. They custom design type, and sell some of their own creations.
His free fonts:
Custom / corporate typefaces: With Liverpool-based art director Liz Harry, Bates created a personalized font, loosely based on Coco Sumner's handwritten capitals, for the band I Blame Coco. Medium and Semibold weights of Gill New Antique were commissioned by LPK Design Agency. Stepping Hill Hospital and Bates created Dials, a pictorial font to help hospital managers input data about improvements. A custom font was designed for Bolton Strategic Economic Partnership.
Abstract Fonts link. View Keith Bates's typefaces. Dafont link. Yet another URL. Fontspace link. Fontsy link. Behance link. [Google] [MyFonts] [More] ⦿
Mauro's graduation thesis in Rome was about the development of the Sady typeface, wg=here Sady stands for Sabon Dyslexic. He took Tschichold's Sabon and broke the smooth Beziers up to increase the angular aspect of each glyph. In addition, attention was paid to the spacing and global word shapes (or Boumas). [Google] [More] ⦿
Designer of the handcrafted typeface Dyslexia (2015), Drop Caps Narrow (2015, thin caps), and the sci-fi typeface Decoder (2015). Creative Market link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Auckland, New Zealand-based designer of the rounded bi-colored typeface Dyslexia (2017). [Google] [More] ⦿
Designer of Read Regular, a typeface family designed for dyslexic people. Frensch, a dyslexic herself, is associated with the Royal College of Art and Design in London. See also here. The Dutch publishing house Zwijsen adopted Read Regular for its children's books and school texts. [Google] [More] ⦿
Panuwat Usakulwattana (b. 1990) is a Thai typeface designer who studied communication design at Bangkok University, where his senior project involved research into the relationship between dyslexia and type design. Panuwat is co-founder of the Totem Project, which was launched for young designers who are interested in typeface production. Currently, Panuwat is senior type designer at Cadson Demak in Bangkok. He has designed many Thai fonts, most notably Thutiya, which won an award at Granshan 2017. He also designed the custom typeface Tatsana Suksa for the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and a custom font for the popular spa and skincare product Panpuri.
He was a speaker at BITS MMXV (the Bangkok International Typographic Symposium, 2015). Interview by the Bangkok Post.
Thutija won an award at Granshan 2017.
Panuwat was also on the Google Fonts Thai Collection development team.
In 2021, he designed Bree Thai for Type Together. [Google] [More] ⦿
Parker Jones (Dallas, TX) designed the dyslexia-awareness typeface Monsters in 2015. [Google] [More] ⦿
Paul James Miller
Teesside, UK-based designer of the pay fonts Mono Dyslexic (2011) and Gill Dyslexic (2011). [Google] [More] ⦿
PJM Homebrew Fonts
Sheffield, UK-based electronics engineer who works on CAD systems both mechanical and electrobic. An ardent supporter of the open source paradigm, he works for the NHS. Designer of these free fonts:
Fontsquirrel link. Devian Tart link. Localfonts link. Wordpress link. Fontsquirrel link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Italian designer of Leggimi (2008), a readable font in which confusion is minimized. It was made for dyslexics. [Google] [More] ⦿
Dutch graphic designer based in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. In 2015, he designed the font Pica for dyslexics. Behance link. [Google] [More] ⦿
Dutch researcher whose Masters thesis at the University of Twente in 2010 is entitled Special fonts for Dyslexia?. She compared Christiaan de Boer's Dyslexie typeface with Arial. Two of her followers wrote theses on similar subjects, Tineke Pijpker (2013, University of Twente)'s Dyslexie letters en kleurcontrast, and Liane van Someren (2014, University of Amsterdam)'s Aanwijzingen waarom dyslectici meer accuraat lezen met het lettertype Dyslexie. All three theses are refuted by typographic journalist Henk Gianotten in Dyslexie, letters en dwalingen (2014, De Boekenwereld, vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 92-93). Gianotten points out that Arial's x-height exceeds that of Dyslexie, contradicting de Leeuw's claim. He also complains about the lack of a scientific method. In Gianotten's view, three key things are needed for readability---larger letters, more spacing between letters, and more interline space. For dyslexics, he also recommends using columns not more than nine words wide. [Google] [More] ⦿
Rica Dujon, a graphic designer in Singapore, created the sans typeface Lexis in 2013. It was based on the analysis of a dyslexic child's handwriting. Lexis Regular is a font specially designed to help dyslexic individuals better see, read and process words and information. Lexis was a school project at the Lasalle College of the Arts. The user-testings were conducted in partnership with the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. [Google] [More] ⦿
Dr. Robert Hillier is a Senior Lecturer at Norwich University College of the Arts in the UK. He designed and developed the Sylexiad range of fonts for adult dyslexic readers as part of his doctoral research. He has presented his research findings at design institutions and conferences, including the St.Bride Library Conference Fast Type Slow Type, Birmingham (2006). Sylexiad has been featured in publications including, Novum, Etapes, Ultrabold and the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice. Thesis in 2006 entitled A Typeface for the Adult Dyslexic Reader. Speaker at ATypI 2011 in Reykjavik, where we read this: The findings of developmental typeface testing identified the typographic characteristics adult dyslexic and non-dyslexic readers preferred and why. For the majority of non-dyslexic readers tested it was the combination of serif-style, lowercase forms, large x-heights, medium weight, variable strokes and normal inter-word spacing that was preferred. The non-dyslexic readers also favoured the form of Times New Roman. Conversely, for the majority of dyslexic readers tested it was the combination of handwritten style, uppercase forms, long ascenders and descenders, light weight, uniform strokes, perpendicular design and generous inter-word spacing that was preferred. The dyslexic readers also favoured the form of Serif Sylexiad.
Other typefaces by Hillier: Dine (an experimental interactive font) and CIRCS (experimental display font). [Google] [More] ⦿
Type design student at Reading who created Grover (2004), a serif-sans-casual family specially designed for dyslexic people. Grover is Sally's maiden name. Sally also made the 3d typeface Blockup. [Google] [More] ⦿
Serif vs sans serif
Faruk Ate discusses this old dilemma. Serif is more legible in print, but less so on screen. Serif is better for dyslexics though, as there is less confusion. At small screen size, sans serif is recommended. He concludes: Personally, I still prefer sans-serif for large chunks of text with a lovely serif heading. [Google] [More] ⦿
Studiostudio (The Netherlands) developed a commercial casual typeface called Dyslexie (2008) to minimize the errors perceived by dyslexics. Created by Christian Theo Boer (b. 1981; located in Zeist), the research was carried out at the University of Twente. In a research article about Dyslexie, Judith van de Vrugt writes: Dyslexia>... it is a word that many dyslexics find hard to pronounce. Christian Boer is one of them. Being a dyslexic student, he came upon the idea for his thesis to design a font that would make letters more distinguishable for someone with dyslexia. Due to the visible distinc- tion, it would be easier to read, and letters would dance less. The Dyslexie font is commercial, but a free trial version is available. [Google] [More] ⦿
The Lexend Project
Bonnie Shaver-Troup, EdD, the creator of the Lexend project (which is based in Irvine, CA), is focused on making reading easier for everyone. As an educational therapist, Bonnie created the first Lexend typeface in early 2001 aiming to reduce visual stress and to improve reading performance for those with dyslexia and other struggling readers. Today, Bonnie's goal is to make the Lexend fonts accessible to a larger spectrum of users.
Bonnie writes: Lexend is a variable typeface designed by Bonnie Shaver-Troup and Thomas Jockin in 2018. Applying the Shaver-Troup Individually Optimal Text Formation Factors, studies have found readers instantaneously improve their reading fluency. Lexend was expanded to Arabic in January 2020. The Shaver-Troup Formulation was applied to Arabic with advise from Arabic typeface designer, Nadine Chahine. Lexend is based on the Quicksand project from Andrew Paglinawan, initiated in 2008. Quicksand was improved in 2016 by Thomas Jockin for Google Fonts. Thomas modified Quicksand for the specialized task of improving reading fluency in low-proficiency readers (including those with dyslexia. In 2019, Thomas Jockin released the free seven font family Lexend (Deca, Exa, Giga, Mega, Peta, Tera and Zetta) at Google Fonts, together with Bonnie Shaver-Troup. Github link. Dedicated site.
Thomas Jockin writes that Lexend is empirically shown to significantly improve reading-proficiency. As prescription eyeglasses achieve proficiency for persons with short-sightedness, Lexend's families were developed using Shaver-Troup Formulations. We will eventually release all seven families as a single variable font featuring its own custom axis. Lexend is thus an implementation of Bonnie Shaver-Troup's 2000 study, in which she theorized that reading performance would improve through the use of (1) hyper expansion of character spacing [which creates a greater lag time and reduces potential crowding and masking effects], (2) expanded scaling, and (3) a sans-serif font [to reduce noise]. Lexend is indeed hyper-widely spaced. [Google] [More] ⦿
Designer at Typolis in Antwerpen, Belgium, where he designed the grunge font Dyslexic. Tom lives in Borsbeek. [Google] [More] ⦿
Based in Bogota, Colombia, Victor Gomez developed Dixia (2013), a simple riound sans script that is geared towards children, both dyslexic and non-dyslexic. Behance link. [Google] [More] ⦿