Not happy with the available fonts? Why not design your own? Try these 7 free tools.
People make fun of Comic Sans, but I use it all the time. It is one of the preferred fonts for dyslexics.
I did not know that a redeeming quality of this abused font is that it has been found to make reading easier for dyslexics. That’s kind of cool.
A review of several dyslexia-friendly fonts (Sassoon, Myriad Pro, Tiresias, Lexia Readable, Read Regular, Verdana, Trebuchet MS): http://dyslexiauntied.blogspot.com/2010/07/fonts-and-dyslexia.html
Fonts and Dyslexia
Whatever materials you are creating, it is good to consider whether they are going to be accessible to as broad an audience as possible.
Many dyslexic and non-dyslexic people find that the readability of a piece of text varies greatly depending upon the font (type face or type style) used.
Serif fonts, with their ‘ticks’ and ‘tails’ at the end of most strokes (as found in traditional print fonts such as Georgia or Times New Roman), tend to obscure the shapes of letters, so sans-serif fonts are generally preferred.
Many dyslexic people also find it easier to read a font that looks similar to hand writing as they are familiar with this style, and some teachers prefer them. However these types of fonts can lead to confusion with some letter combinations, such as “oa” and “oo”; “rn” and “m”.
The size of the ascenders and descenders of letters (the ‘stems’ on letters like p and b) is also important as many dyslexic readers rely on recalling the visual shape of a word due to poor phonological awareness.
If ascenders and descenders are too short the shape of the word is more difficult to identify and can make reading slower and less accurate.
Read Regular - Font
Recently Natascha Frensch, a graphic designer at the Royal College of Art, has designed a font (Read Regular) specifically for dyslexic readers, taking into account the issues discussed above.
There are examples of Read Regular on her web site at www.readregular.com and the children’s publisher Chrysalis is now using it for two-thirds of the 150 children’s titles it brings out every year.Lexia Readable
Has also been designed specifically for dyslexia and is actually available. You can download it from www.k-type.com/ free for individual use. It has developed quite a bit over the last few months, although it still has some minor irregularities.
It tries to avoid some possible dyslexic confusions (eg b-d) by using different shapes, and is broadly based on Comic Sans.
This font has been designed for people with Visual Impairment. Originally produced for subtitles and signs there is now a screen version Tiresias PC font. Tiresias is now free to download. It is good for legibility, but doesn’t address the issue of dyslexic confusions.
The font Sassoon, is often recommended for dyslexia, but was actually designed to assist children in early reading. Also, it is quite expensive and can be bought through Adrian Williams Design and elsewhere on the web.
Letter shapes are similar to those that schools use to teach handwriting, and ascenders and descenders are exaggerated to emphasise word shapes.
Myriad pro was designed by Adobe and it has a clean sans serif aesthetic making it suitable for people with dyslexia.
Web based Fonts
Write Friendly Text
To test your sensitivity to these fonts, choose one from the ones suggetsed, print out some text in 12 points and check them out for yourself. You can also ask your friends and family about their choices and preferences.
Apart from the font selection, think carefully about colour and printing on colored paper. There are a number of good and bad combinations that you should be aware of.
Read Regular is a typeface specifically designed for people with dyslexia.