Wired: Castledown Primary School headmaster Neil Small commissioned London design studio Colophon Foundry to come up with a typeface that not only looked good, but improved students’ reading and writing skills.
“I’ve been frustrated with the lack of clarity of letters in fonts since my beginnings as a teacher.”
He wanted a unifying typeface that could satisfy all of Castledown’s guidelines: sans-serif, dyslexic-friendly, and shaped similarly to the way kids naturally write. On top of all that, the font should be a learning tool, helping students to improve their reading and writing.
A pre-made font that met these requirements didn’t exist, to his knowledge. Dyslexic-centered fonts were too clunky. Arial and Times New Roman weren’t unique enough. Then there was the issue of proper form.
The font that came closest to satisfying Small’s conditions was, ironically enough, one of the most widely despised: Comic Sans. “We settled with Comic Sans, but we didn’t like the overall look of it, and so we were never entirely happy,” Small says.
I feel like this idea could be improved upon in several ways and is ripe for an open source version.
- Comic Neue: A more palatable Comic Sans
- Burlingame: A typeface designed for split-second legibility
- OpenDyslexic and Dyslexie, two fonts designed to increase readability for those with dyslexia.