Dyslexie: a font to help dyslexics read better

Did you know the term “dyslexia” is derived from the Latin word “dys,” which translates to difficult, and the Greek word “lexia,” which translates to words?  Therefore, the meaning of dyslexia literally translates to “difficulty with words.”  Roughly 10 percent of the world’s population is affected by this learning disability, which makes it difficult to read and write.  Dutch graphic designer, Christian Boer, is part of this demographic and is also a graduate of the Utrecht Art Academy.  For his final thesis project, Boer set out to create a font that would make reading easier for individuals with dyslexia.  His completed project, a new typeface entitled “Dyslexie,” ended up receiving worldwide attention.

dyslexie typeface

There are several characteristics that can be explained by dyslexia.  Typically, both children and adults with dyslexia have difficulty with:

  • Remembering expressions and sayings
  • Identifying the difference between tones
  • Learning spelling rules
  • Remembering sequences of sounds

Dyslexia is often revealed when a child is reading aloud.  While reading, the affected child may use an accelerated or slowed reading speed.  At an accelerated pace, the child often guesses the word instead of reading it, resulting in several mistakes.  When a slower reading pace is used, the child reads the word by spelling it.  Among those in the dyslexic community, a combination of both reading tempos is used.

Writing among children and adults with dyslexia is another challenge.  Spelling errors are made frequently, and children especially need a lot of assistance in learning the different spelling rules.  Other writing difficulties often related to dyslexia include:

  • An illegible handwriting
  • A slow writing tempo

The font “Dyslexie” aims to make reading easier for these individuals.  At first glance, the font is very similar to a typical typeface, but in fact, it’s design is a little more complex.  Oftentimes, fonts are designed to look aesthetically pleasing, and begin to mirror each other as is demonstrated below:

twin letters

Dyslexie is dissimilar from common western fonts as it is designed so that the difference between each character is more pronounced.  Dyslexie has a heavy base line, alternating stick and tail lengths, larger-than-normal openings and a semi-cursive slant, all of which make every character easily recognizable from the next.  According to Boer, “When reading a text in the dyslexia font, people with dyslexia have a lot less trouble and fewer errors are made.”

Dyslexie is free for home use and can be downloaded here.

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