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A Typeface for Dyslexics

Posted by Josh Rothman  July 26, 2011 03:20 PM

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Christian Boer, a typographer at the firm Studiostudio, based in the Netherlands, has designed a special font for people with dyslexia. The font, called "Dyslexie," uses specially shaped letters to exaggerate some of the differences between letters that dyslexics find hard to distinguish from one another.

How well does it work? A master's thesis by Renske de Leeuw at the University of Twente shows that the font boosts accuracy, but not reading speed; although there are certain words that are now harder to read than before, the net effect is positive. What's needed now, de Leeuw explains, is a more robust research program, testing specific changes to the letterforms to see which ones help dyslexics and which ones don't. You can get a sense of some of the ways in which typography might help by looking at detailed images of the font here.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

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Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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