The Hyperlegible Typeface Changing How We See Print

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The coronavirus pandemic is clearly at the forefront of all of our minds—but there are countless other healthcare puzzles going on at any given time around the world. One is the low-vision paradox: Despite a decrease in blindness worldwide, people are now living long enough to lose their vision.

So what does that mean for printed materials—and how can designers create fonts that are easily read by the growing population of low-vision consumers?

Enter Atkinson Hyperlegible.

Applied Design Works in New York City partnered up with the Braille Institute to develop this easy-to-read typeface named after the institute’s founder, Robert J. Atkinson.

“People may be surprised that the vast majority of the students who come to Braille Institute have some degree of vision,” Sandy Shin, the institute’s vice president for marketing and communications, told All About Vision. “They're not 100% blind.” Meaning a majority of Braille Institute clients also don’t rely on the dot-based language.

For years now, it seemed the only solution for low-vision clients and printed materials was magnification. But with its careful design, Atkinson Hyperlegible is making a major impact.

According to the Braille Institute’s website, “For low-vision readers, certain letters and numbers can be hard to distinguish from one another. … Atkinson Hyperlegible differentiates common misinterpreted letters and numbers using various design techniques.” By way of recognizable footprints and exaggerated forms, this new typeface is already making a difference and bringing home accolades, including Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Award.

The face—a traditional grotesque sans serif at its core—is free to download and comes with four fonts in two weights, accents supporting 27 languages, and 1,340 glyphs. Visit the Braille Institute’s website to learn more, and download Atkinson Hyperlegible here.