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This Typeface Made For The Visually Impaired Will Make You Look A Little Closer
By Thanussha Priyah, 20 Sep 2019
Image via Applied Design Works
Braille Institute has introduced a typeface specially designed for over 100 million people with serious vision impairment.
The resource is named ‘Atkinson Hyperlegible’. When you first look at it, it just seems like a pretty legible typeface, but upon closer inspection, it reveals intricacies and details optimized for people who are not able to perceive type well.
Initially, the project started off as a visual rebranding for Braille Institute by design firm Applied Design Works.
Applied Design Works’ founding creative director Craig Dobie shared that the firm was seeking the right typeface to translate its tone and manner as it was in the midst of transitioning into something more “modern.”
There are various ranges of sight, so the agency started developing an all-inclusive typeface through serif fonts such as ‘Times New Roman’, which was then altered with “hooks and curves” that were meant to increase readability.
According to Dobie, in most cases, “uniformity in standards” is likely to generate a successful typeface, but in this case, each letter had to stand out on its own to prevent confusion.
Therefore, the firm planned to create a legible typeface that best reflected Braille Institute and its’ target audience.
Iterations were presented to people who experienced different forms of vision impairment, so that they could make amendments and revisions accordingly.
In the end, they developed a hybrid typeface combining a little bit of various font types and families. For instance, the ‘I’ is a simple sans serif bar while the lowercase of ‘I’ has a cursive bottom for differentiation.
When you put the ‘E’ and ‘F’ beside each other, they vastly differ on purpose. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ have had chunks emitted so readers can distinguish them. Characters that can be easily mistaken for each other, such as ‘R’, ‘B’ or ‘9,’ ‘8’, are all appropriately distinctive. Spaces within letters like ‘C’ are wider than usual, so that they would be more prominent when blurred.
The fonts are designedwith precise kerning so that people with normal eyesight will not find them too jarring, and that people with vision impairment will be better able to see them.
Applied Design Works is still refining the typeface with Braille Institute to make it as legible as possible. Microsoft and Apple have also been contacted to consider including ‘Atkinson Hyperlegible’ in Windows and macOS.
[via Fast Company, images via Hello Applied]
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