A typeface for dyslexics

 

Last year, I met the master typographer Gerrit Noordzij at his home in a forest outside Amsterdam for an article for Le Monde d’Hermès.  As we talked, he would go to the wall-sized bookshelf behind him to pull out one of his esoteric volumes — on centuries-old calligraphy, say, or 1970s Japanese photography — that connected to our discussion in all sorts of interesting and unexpected ways.  Noordzij’s design philosophy (click here to view the article) is that even in this computer age a good typeface reflects how the human hand would flow over the page.  I thought of him as I watched the video above (via kottke) about dyslexie, which is a typeface for dyslexics by a Dutch type design firm called studiostudio.  The quality of this typeface is measured not so much by how the hand flows over the page as by how the eye flows over the letters and, in particular, dyslexie tries to more clearly differentiate the similarities in Roman letters that dyslexics tend to confuse — so, for example, weighting the bottom of the letters so that they are not mentally turned.  The video explains how this works better than words can.  The results are inelegant and look, to this non-dyslexic eye, a lot like the comic sans typeface, but the intentions are worthy and the need dyslexie is addressing is very real.  I am sure Gerrit Noordzij would approve.

 

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