TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Thu Nov 27 12:12:23 EST 2014
Typefaces for dyslexics
Leo Kelion writes for the BBC: The OpenDyslexic font is designed to give "gravity" to letters to prevent the characters rotating in readers' minds.
Alejandro Valdéz Sanabria
Belgian artist, thinker and autodidact, b. 1954, Antwerpen. The DITT writes this about him: André is an adult dyslexic. Formerly working in the arts, he is now working on a monologue entitled The Illusionist. He researches the interface between psychology and physics. His "act" (a sort of humorous lecture) gives insight into his findings, interests, and himself as an illusionist. 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] ⦿
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:
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 codesigned 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:
Dyslexica Font Foundry
Typefoundry in Covington, GA, est. 2013. The goals of the foundry are to provide quality fonts and to develop dyslexic friendly font families and variations.
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.
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.
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.
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] ⦿
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.
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] ⦿