Christian Boer, a graphic designer from the Netherlands, has created a new font called Dyslexie that decreases the number of errors made by dyslexics while reading. As a student at the University of Twente, Boer developed the typeface as a way to address his own dyslexia; it later became his graduate school project.
The font works by changing the appearance of some letters of the alphabet that are commonly confused or reversed by dyslexics. For example, Boer has added weight to the bottom of the letters so that there is a sense of “gravity,” which helps readers avoid misconstruing similar letters such as “p” and “d.” Other changes include enlarging the opening of some letters such as “e” and “c,” and increasing the length of the descenders in letters like “g” and “y.” The space between letters and between words has been increased to allow readers more time to process information; punctuation is also more prominent.
Originally developed for the Dutch language, Boer has recently released the font in English, and U.S. users can purchase it online.
According to a recent article in Scientific American, a fellow student at the University of Twente has conducted an independent study and discovered “a significant reduction in reading errors by dyslexics when reading Dutch text typed in Dyslexie as opposed to the Arial font” (Scientific American online edition, October 26, 2011).
To see an example of Dyslexie and a short video about how it helps dyslexics to read more easily, visit Boer’s Web site, www.studiostudio.nl/project-dyslexie/, and click on the English language icon at the top of the page.
What do you think? Could a specially designed font help your dyslexic clients? Leave a comment—PAR wants to hear from you!