Graphic designer Christian Boer (1981) graduated in 2008 with a very special graduation project; a project that makes the letter jungle accessible for people with dyslexia. In 2008, the organization Dyslexie font was born. We are excited to share our story…
In 2008 Christian - who loves to learn but who has always been challenged when doing so – decided to turn his biggest point of frustration into something positive. Studying might have been a struggle, but designing is his biggest talent. He decided, as a graduate of graphic design, to research how the shape of letters could increase the readability for people with dyslexia.
Christian observed and analyzed the different features of dyslexia. He came to the conclusion that while dyslexics face difficulties in distinguishing letters and other 2D objects, they don’t have problems in distinguishing 3D objects. He started to design 3D letters, which he later transcribed into 2D.
According to typography rules, letters should be shaped symmetrically; a rule that strongly works against people with dyslexia. Basic typography rules were ignored, instead Christian allowed the challenges of dyslexia to form his guidelines. Christian designed a font that prevents mirroring, turning, swapping and overcrowding: Dyslexie font, easily readable font for people with dyslexia.
Not all of Christian's teachers were cheering about his concept, but a little support was enough to realize his plans and graduate from his Bachelor's degree with Honors in Graphic Design. After graduation, Dyslexie font received immediate recognition and is greeted with open arms by the international dyslexia community. A lot of people tried to copy or poorly imitate Christian's work. What differentiates Dyslexie font from all other 'dyslexia friendly' fonts is that it is made with empathy and compassion, taking into serious consideration the needs of a dyslexic person, as the designer knows them first-hand.
This was only the beginning of Dyslexie font. We would love to share some of our highlights of the last years.
In 2011 Dyslexie font receives the first prize at the Smart Urban Stage Awards in Amsterdam. International demand and interest grows. Christian is invited later this year for a presentation during TEDx in Dubai, after which the first big organizations started to purchase Dyslexie font for their staff.
2012 also was an exciting year. The typing course TypeTopia becomes available in Dyslexie font and so does the first book, “Adventures of Glass”, after which several publishers start to make their books available in Dyslexie font.
2013 is also a turbulent year. Christian is a finalist in the INDEX: Design to Improve Life awards in Copenhagen and FastCompany Innovation by Design Awards in New York. Later, during the Rabobank New Generation Pitch in Utrecht, the font wins the first prize.
In 2014 a huge goal is accomplished. The Dyslexie font trial version can be used for free by home users – an important milestone. Later this year, international publishers start to make their books available on the market in Dyslexie font, such as the children’s book series from Henry Winkler: “Hank Zipster”.
In 2015 we are approached with requests from many unexpected parties. Manufactures of toys want to use the font for their wooden toys and a climbing hall uses the font for magnets on the wall. There are over a 1.000 book titles added to the published booklist and Dyslexie font is asked to take the stage during TEDx in New York for a presentation.
In 2016, we reached a huge milestone: a successful crowdfunding campaign, due in part to the massive support from Dyslexie font users. We are very thankful for this wonderful outcome and it has allowed us improve our online user interface and to develop new products, such as the Chrome Extension and the Dyslexie font text editor.
In 2017 we continued to optimize and develop our online user interface and develop new products. In addition, our new website is launched. We continued to work hard to make Dyslexie font available at the lowest possible rate for schools. Reinforcing our aim to make learning fun again and challenge children with dyslexia in a positive way.
We believe that reading is the key to a better future. We would like to make this key also available to people with dyslexia. By contributing to a greater awareness, recognition and development, we hope to help people with dyslexia to make their way through the daily letter jungle and make reading, learning and working fun again.