Sum see leters and numerals mov and jump off the page while reedeeng, some eqwate it to the type exsisting in 3D space, wile others smply say spelling and reedeeng r slow, paneful proseses.
Many people in the world have dyslexia, many more have at least heard of it. There is no way to explain the views, feelings, and frustration of dyslexia unless you experience it yourself.
Hi, I’m Helen, I am a professional graphic designer and I am dyslexic as fcuk.
Although I struggled through academics as many dyslexics and non-dyslexics do, I graduated and have been in the real-life adult workforce for over a year now. And I still struggle! Dyslexia does not go away it just manifests itself in different ways.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was so young that I don’t remember ever not being dyslexic. Dyslexia has always been a part of school, academics, and math… It is a part of driving, writing, speaking, vocabulary recall, and even navigating from left to right (no kidding). It is more than an inability to read; It is the way a brain thinks. Dyslexia is getting dressed in the morning and putting on your shirt inside out. You can’t feel a difference, and until someone points it out to you, there is none. Not until you reach behind your neck for the tag, or look in a mirror, can you see that they were right. And now you feel stupid.
However, it’s not slowing me down too much. Yeah I get made fun of like every day, sometimes even scolded, for the constant misspellings. But, I also find solutions for problems no one notices.
I get to see the world through eyes that avoid typical patterns (like words and numbers) and find new directions to take. Sometimes those paths are direct to the issue, original and fresh. While sometimes they are the scenic route… Like over the mountain, through the woods, and across the Sahara scenic; But hey, I get to see more that way.
My coworkers have heard me bang my fist on the table in frustration trying to figure out words like manigment… manegment… MAN AGE MENT… in Adobe Illustrator (which does not have automatic spell check). I read and reread my emails to clients multiple times before letting someone else check it for me.
Dyslexia has for years been associated with visual creativity, and that is where I am lucky.
While I had Cs and Ds in Algebra and Spanish classes, I excelled in art classes and was often one or two entire years ahead of my classmates. I got to skip all the basic design classes in college. Plus, I started my degree with 27 hours already under my belt from AP art courses.
I enjoy all mediums in both 3D and 2D, but nothing is quite like creating something interactive, useful, and meaningful, like designing a website, poster series, or even an annual report.
With a chronically positive attitude, a bit of hard work, and a deep-seated love for all things art and design I’ve made my way to the workforce. There are some designers and creatives that have made it their mission to figure out the inner-workings of the dyslexic brain. They’ve created typefaces, experiences, and even entire art shows centered on dyslexic minds.
Dyslexic Design Today
As a designer it is my duty to love to hate Comic Sans; The typeface that’s so ludicrously misused today, that it’s gained the reputation for being the worst typeface ever made. However, years ago there was a rumor going around that Comic Sans was easier for dyslexics to read, and my heart sank.
Nothing really came from the “discovery,” but since then a dyslexic designer Christian Boer has created a typeface, Dyslexie, that was made specifically for the dyslexic reader. Its ugly as sin, but I think it really does the job.
For example, letters like “d” and “b” have had structural changes so they don’t as easily replace each other. Ascenders and descenders (the verticals some letters have that rise above or hang below the letter) are exaggerated to make the difference between letters like “h” and “n” more obvious. Additionally, the lowercase letter “a” is the base to b, d, p, and q, and u is the base to n, m, w, h (and sometimes y depending on the typeface). With these characters looking so similar it’s no surprise there are some that struggle with quick recognition of letters.
The anatomy of an alphabet can change with each font, and Dyslexie has rebuilt the forms in a way to stop some of that movement dyslexics often see.
Some letters are made to look bottom heavy so the reader is less likely to see them flipped. Others are crooked so that when compared to a letter that usually looks similar there are more clear differences between the two.
The typeface looks haphazard but there is a method to every maddening letter. Today, it is being used to help kids with dyslexia learn faster and read at the same speed of their peers.
Dan Britton’s goal was not to mimic a dyslexic’s view while reading, but simply create the level of frustration dyslexics get when reading. And it’s freaking torture, let me tell you. Looking at that poster is a whole day’s worth of frustration concentrated into a few sentences of type. So, a huge success. However, as far as the design goes, it is super modern and alluring.
Daniel Britton’s powerful poster and series is not only beautiful, but impactful and interactive when viewed on location. There is a glass sheet with one-half of the letters hovering over the other half, making the poster unreadable until the viewer sees it head on. Britton’s series is not only posters. He really did create an entire typeface as well which ends up has the exact opposite goal as Dyslexie above.
A Swedish developer Victor Widell, set out to create this web page after hearing what his dyslexic friend saw when she reads. It is a simulation of what reading with dyslexia is like.
While not every body’s view is this active, it hits the nail on the head in annoyance levels. Some may say the movement is slower or more like a blur over the word or the entire paragraph. Others even see the letters static but felt like they are reading in another language.
Widell’s attention to detail, however, is awesome. Even the tags, publish date, and navigation’s type is flickering around. It’s a great tool to share with friends and family so they can experience what reading with Dyslexia is like.
The graphic designer Sam Barclay created a beautifully designed book about his and others’ experiences with their dyslexia. The book was aimed to bring more understanding to those who don’t get the struggle. All of the work is gorgeous while being eye opening and educational.
Readers can see the entire book and poster series here. I’m gonna go buy that book right now.
I’ve never loved the term “learning disability;” I feel it has negative connotations. Since I see my Dyslexia altering every thought I have and many decisions I make, I would love for dyslexia to be known more as a “Thinking Style” or simply a “Way of Thought…” I don’t know. My point is, being dyslexic is simply having distinctive wiring. Or, a brain that is furnished differently, equipped with atypical tools. And those tools are great for design, drawing, sculpting, writing, directing, acting, cooking, producing, studying physics, engineering, philosophy, astrology, you get the idea… Anything! Just be prepared to take the scenic route.
At Square205 I have been able to create awesome work thanks to the right environment keeping me on my toes. While working with my team, and the addition of a few friendly pokes at my more comedic dyslexic moments, I grow every day.
I’ve designed dozens of websites with Square205 while maintaining my side business, Glass Gardens, which feeds my need to work in 3D. I’ve even had opportunities to have my designs in retail locations, and sold around the US, with businesses like Tumbleweed Texstyles.