The National Institutes of Health estimate that one out of every five persons in the US suffers from dyslexia, a brain-based learning disability that can make it frustratingly difficult to read. One way people have tried combatting the symptoms of dyslexia is with fonts like Dyslexie (pictured here), which are specially designed to decrease the number of errors made by dyslexics while reading.
Dyslexie was created by Christian Boer, a dyslexic graphic designer from the Netherlands. The font incorporates a number of typographical features that make it harder for the brains of dyslexics to rotate, swap, mirror, and otherwise confuse letters while they're reading.
Take the letters "p," "b" and "d," for example, depicted up top in Boer's Dyslexie typeface. In many fonts, these letters look very much the same, such that by rotating and mirroring them they can be used more or less interchangeably.
In Boer's font, however, the boldness of each letter's base is increased, granting each character a "weight" that hints at its proper orientation. Notice also that the space enclosed by each letter (what is referred to in typography as a character's "bowl" or "loop") is shaped just a little differently than that of the other two. These subtle typographical cues may not seem like much, but they go a long way in helping your brain recognize which letters belong where when they appear in words and sentences.
Learn more about the design of Dyslexie (including a slide show comparing different Dyslexie characters to those of other fonts) in this article by Scientific American's Jennifer Nalewicki. You can also try Dyslexie out for yourself by reading this version of Nalewicki's article.
[Via Scientific American]
Dyslexie characters by Christian Boer via SA