Daniel Britton’s font will make you feel what dyslexia is all about
It took Daniel Britton 22 years to finish reading a book. “People who’ve never been dyslexic don’t understand what it’s like.” he says to CNN. He was diagnosed as a partial-dyslexic at a very young age “But no one understood it” he told Daily Mail. “I remember when I was eight-years-old, all I got was try harder, read harder, you’re lazy, you’re stupid, you’re thick”. Books were hard to finish, graphic design though was his craft. Therefore he used it for a purpose, to inform and advocate more empathy on the most prevalent of language-based learning disabilities. Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 students yet it remains a widely misunderstood disorder.
Daniel Briton decided to act. Being a successful graphic designer, he found a brilliant way to convey those feelings of frustration be creating his own font, dubbed Dyslexia. “This typography is not designed to recreate what it would be like to read to read if you were dyslexic it is designed to simulate the feeling of reading with dyslexia by slowing the reading time of the viewer down to a speed of which someone who has dyslexia would read.”
Using Helvetica as a base, the Dyslexia font removes around 40 per of the typeface’s lines as it aims to make the average reader take their time when attempting to decipher the letters in the words and sentences. A font designed to slow down reading to the speed of someone with dyslexia reading normal font.
“I need the viewer to have to work to read something so simple as a poster”
“I wanted to create a piece on Dyslexia as Dyslexia is for the most part greatly misunderstood and extremely miss communicated, even the government agencies that aim to create awareness at best create confusion and being a Dyslexic student I wanted to create a piece of artwork that would allow a understanding and a sense of empathy between non Dyslexics to Dyslexics” writes Britton.
“I believe that once that Dyslexia is understood then as a nation we can create better learning conditions for Dyslexic students and let them excel in the same way that every other person can. Just think, there are around 8 Billion people living in the world right now with around 10% of the population being Dyslexic, so that gives you around 800,000,000 Dyslexic people on the planet, if we can increase our understanding and give the correct help to these people just think how many more Richard Bransons, Elon Musks or Boyan Slats we can produce.
For most people the letters and numbers do not jump around on the page and the colors remain the same, it is simply a break down in communication between they eye and the brain, for most people you can see the information, you can see perfectly each and every letter form but there is something in your mind that is stopping or slowing the process of information and for most this is Dyslexia”.
Britton used typography to make non-Dyslexic people understand what it is like to read with the condition and to recreate the frustration and embarrassment of reading everyday text and then in turn to create a better understanding of the condition.
“In 2D the type is split into 2 and only one section of the type if revealed, just enough for you to eventually piece it together. In its 3D form both sections of the type are there, one placed directly on top of the other which is perfectly legible from front on, but the moment you move to either side or you view the poster from above or below the type breaks to which you have to physically move yourself to read the text, it is exactly this that I wanted to get across, I need the viewer to have to work to read something so simple as a poster and it is this feeling of work, aggravation, effort, stress, embarrassment that recreates the feeling of reading with the condition” he writes.
This is a story about empathy, this is a true story about feeling, this is typography bridging the gaps between humans, making as more humane. Britton developed Dyslexia to convey the emotion behind it.
For more on Britton’s typographic activism here