About four years ago, a dyslexic Dutch designer named Christian Boer created a typeface that would be easier for people like him to read.
Last week, the font — called Dyslexie — was propelled into new attention because it’s being featured the Istanbul Design Biennial. Articles are popping up everywhere, including Slate, Seventeen magazine and even the hipster design magazine Dezeen.
“When they’re reading, people with dyslexia often unconsciously switch, rotate and mirror letters in their minds,” Dezeen quotes Boer as saying. “Traditional typefaces make this worse, because they base some letter designs on others, inadvertently creating ‘twin letters’ for people with dyslexia” — for example, the lower-case letters b, p and d.
So his typeface makes subtle changes: The bottom part of each letter is slightly broader and “heavier” than the top, to keep the reader from turning the letter upside down. Letters that look similar are different in height or have other features to prevent confusion. Some letters are slanted in a semi-italic style, and ascenders (such as the vertical line in an “h”) and descenders (such as the bottom part of a “y”) are lengthened or reshaped to be distinctive.
The font can be downloaded free at www.dyslexiefont.com.