SWITCH TO A SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FONT TO IMPROVE READABILITY OF YOUR MATERIALS
Improving readability is an important topic as the WHO counts that at least 2.2 billion people in the world have a vision impairment. The Atkinson Hyperlegible font was developed during the Braille institute’s rebranding in 2019. The design studio in charge of the rebranding took into account many factors to make characters easier to understand, while keeping specificities to reduce ambiguity between them. The institute provides the font in 4 variations (regular, bold, italic and bold italic) for free in their website, so any organization can start using it in their communications to make them more accessible.
Each year, important artists from the national and international scene are invited, and lead the creation of an unprecedented show in which all students participate. In particular, the music (any style of music) is written or arranged by the artistic directors who are hosted every year. In addition, the course takes place in mountain tourist resorts of the Aosta Valley in close contact with nature and includes excursions by expert alpine guides.
Area of accessibility
Why is it a good practice in the accessibility area?
For creatives, fonts are an important instrument to make beautiful looking communications, along with the colors and graphic elements which can be added. However, this should not come at the cost that some people will find the communication hard to read. This is why we believe it is a good practice to start using this font in print or digital communications.
In fact, switching fonts on any document is a quick and painless action in any word processing or graphics software (it is even part of the Google fonts now). Being free, there are no barriers for adoptions to it.
Lastly, the font is also quite aesthetically pleasing and won the Innovation By Design Award by Fast Company in 2019, so it’s not a total trade-off compared to more “graphical” fonts. Although it may be harder to do the switch for organizations with strong branding images (including specific fonts), the Atkinson Hyperlegible can be used in combination with other fonts but used for explanatory texts for example.
The Braille Institute of America is a 100 year old institution, founded by J. Robert Atkinson who then invented new Braille machines, a Braille library, and created community centers across the US to train people with vision impairment to lead fuller lives. Today, the aim of the Institute is more generally to provide free classes and services for those with low vision to no vision, and to build awareness about eyesight disabilities as well.
The focus of the Braille institute is interestingly becoming less about Braille writing itself because today, total blindness now only impacts about 10% of their constituents. The key problem is growing visual impairment among aging baby boomers (with diseases like diabetes) who will not learn Braille, yet need supportive help & training to lead independent, productive lives.
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