By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
A Dutch designer created a font especially for people with dyslexia. Christian Boer, who is dyslexic himself, designed “dyslexie,” the font that supposedly makes it easier for dyslexic people to read.
The font, on display at the Istanbul Design Biennial 2014, utilizes distinct letters. Typical typeface often relies on “mirror letters,” that are identical in shape but only differ in position, like d, b and q. Someone with dyslexia confuses these mirror letters easily.
Dyslexie has a few unique properties to stop dyslexics from switching the letters. Firstly, the letters are bottom-heavy to “prevent the letters from going upside-down;” secondly, some letters are further italicized to create even more distinction; and thirdly, capital letters and punctuation are enlarged to “clearly highlight the beginning and end of each sentence,” so that it’s easier to read each sentence separately. Dyslexie is free for home use, but has to be purchased for business or education purposes.
The idea of a font geared toward dyslexia is not a new phenomenon. OpenDyslexic, a free font, was produced in 2011.
The idea of Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic is a step in the right direction, but there are still complications. Both fonts are good for home use, when you can have control over the materials you are using, but they seem impractical for outside application. If—in school or work—there is no option to switch to a dyslexic-friendly font, then the purpose of these fonts is rendered moot.
Dyslexie and OpenDyslexic are not intended to “cure” dyslexia, but exist as a tool to help dyslexics read better. The idea is ingenious and deserves to be widely implemented. The obvious place to start is within schools. In a world where paper is becoming obsolete and digital textbooks are becoming more commonplace, it wouldn’t be that hard to buy a dyslexic-friendly font and use it in the classroom.
Designers like Boer are creating an environment that helps people with dyslexia learn more easily. Utilizing these fonts can only help in cultivating a setting to encourage children with dyslexia to keep learning and reading. Already, some children’s books are using fonts like OpenDyslexic in new publications.