While studying for his graduate thesis at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, he developed Dyslexie, a typeface (font) that improves reading accessibility for individuals with dyslexia.
Growing up in the Netherlands, Christian Boer had difficulty reading in grade school due to undiagnosed dyslexia when few people were aware of the learning disability. Boer hid his reading struggles in high school despite passing exams in multiple languages (German, French, English, and Dutch), fearing he was the only one with reading problems. After high school, Boer attended the University of Twente, majoring in design, and began creating a typeface style (font) to make reading easier. He continued his work on his “Dyslexie” font as his graduate thesis project at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht.
Boer realized that he perceived letters as floating and decided to start his design project by increasing the boldness of letters at their bases by “weighing them down” to improve his readability. According to his website, he also saw “words turning and letters mirroring and swapping, and suddenly he knew the answer: a typeface that would prevent these 3D letter movements. He started designing, and the Dyslexie typeface was born.”
Boer estimated the total time spent on each letter in the font was 15 hours per letter. He initially thought that the font he was designing was only beneficial to himself but gradually realized that it could also help others with dyslexia.
The Dyslexie font also encompasses other design features that make it dyslexia friendly.
- HEAVIER BOTTOMS
- DIFFERENT SHAPES
- BETTER SPACING
- LONGER STICKS
- CAPITAL LETTERS AND PUNCTUATION
- INCLINED LETTERS
- BIGGER OPENINGS
- VARIOUS HEIGHTS
- HIGHER X-HEIGHT
The Dyslexie font won first prize at the “Smart Urban Stage Awards” in Amsterdam in 2011. Boer was a finalist in the “INDEX: Design to Improve Life Awards” in Copenhagen and the “Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards” in New York in 2013. First offered for free, the Dyslexie Font BV has since started charging for the font, citing the cost of continued work on the Dyslexie project. Boer has received two US Design Patents for characters used in the Dyslexie font.
Author: Harpreet Mahal
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