Typesetting, Typeface and Dyslexia

Typesetting is an old word now, but I’m trying to describe a mix of uppercase/lowercase alpha characters alongside numerals, so for now I will refer to typesetting because that’s what we do when we apply these to a page.

I’m one of those people that struggle with block text presented in uppercase, in fact I also struggle with combination of uppercase letters and numbers such as RFPR2201 – there’s just nothing memorable about it for me. Besides not being able to remember such arrangements, they are hard to read smoothly, coming across as tongue twisters – try saying RFPR2201 quickly. Does this make me dyslexic I wonder? If we consider changing the pattern of this code, which version do you find more memorable? I’ve place them in an order I find most memorable and less difficult to say…

  1. rFPr2201
  2. RFpr2201
  3. rfPR2201
  4. rfpr2201
  5. rFPR2201
  6. Rfpr2201
  7. RfpR2201
  8. RFPR2201

Again, ordering by ease and memorability, the connections I make are denoted by a hyphen acting as a pause:

  1. r-FP-r-2201
  2. RF-pr-2201
  3. rf-PR-2201
  4. rfpr-2201
  5. r-FPR-2201
  6. R-fpr-2201
  7. R-fp-R-2201
  8. RFPR-2201

Typeface also plays a strong role in setting triggers in memory and legibility. I came across Christian Boer’s Dyslexie typeface, which is especially designed for people with dyslexia. Research by the University of Twente in Holland showed that people with dyslexia made fewer mistakes reading with the typeface Dyslexie compared to standard fonts. Dyslexie has distinct differences between each character such as placing emphasis on certain parts of the letter which makes it easier to recognize against similar letterforms.

Educational Benefits to Ugly Fonts

Are ugly fonts more memorable?

Well H800 has started and I’m into my second year of this MA. Think this year will be a little easier as I’m more organised this time besides getting a few study days to write the TMAs and EMA. There’s 20 people in our group so the forums take a while to read – lots of ideas and angles. There was some discussion about the grand Palatino font which brought about the popular topic of ugly fonts.

Neuroscience blogger Jonah Lehrer discusses his own gut feeling that we remember ugly fonts much more easily. Research reveals that students tend to learn better when learning is made harder, specifically when using a font that is more challenging to read.

Wired also claim to there are Educational Benefits to Ugly Fonts and to some degree I have to agree. This lead me to test the theory, so I decided to make a poster to introduce a lesson plan instead of a producing a list of key facts. I used a selection of various fonts, jumbled them up and gave certain words the ‘ugly’ treatment. The class viewing this poster were graphic design students so a little effect was required I guess.

Interestingly, I believe the treatment works far better that a straight bullet list. Be interesting to get some comments.