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For dyslexic readers, a boon in Dyslexie font

Christian Boer, designer of a font for readers with dyslexia, has made access to reading part of a broader mission of inclusion.

Illustration by Nora Holland/Globe Correspondent

For art student Christian Boer, inventing a new font for dyslexic readers was the perfect alternative to writing a senior thesis. Being dyslexic himself, Boer had found the academic side of his studies at Utrecht Art Academy in the Netherlands a struggle, but as a creative person, he welcomed a design challenge. Approval for his unusual graduation project paved the way for the creation of Dyslexie font.

Christian Boer, creator of Dyslexie font.Courtesy of Christian Boer

Dyslexia, a neurological condition that makes it difficult for people to read, write, and spell, is caused by a difference in how the brain processes written language. Accordingly, Boer began his project by researching how the shapes of letters could make them easier to read and “friendlier” for people with dyslexia. By making subtle adjustments, he created letters with distinct visual traits that are more easily distinguishable from one another.


Dyslexic readers tend to flip certain letters, so he thickened the bottoms of letters like b and d; to help decrease switching or swapping letters, he added longer ascenders and descenders to letters like f and p. He also enlarged the openings in letters like c and e. In Boer’s design, all letters are spaced farther apart than in a traditional font, and capital letters and punctuation marks are more pronounced, to help with readability. The height of letters is also increased but not the width, adding “air” to the font.

The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately one in 15 Americans have dyslexia, including such boldfaced names as Steven Spielberg and Whoopi Goldberg.

The dyslexic vanguard also counts TV actor Henry Winkler (“Happy Days”) among its ranks. A severe dyslexic and ardent advocate for children with learning challenges, Winkler promoted Dyslexie font in interviews when he published “Here’s Hank!,” his best-selling children’s book series (2014-19). The 12-book series, featuring Hank Zipzer, a young boy with dyslexia, were the first books in the US to appear in Dyslexie font.


Since its invention in 2008, the font’s use has expanded beyond book publishing. After graduating from art school, Boer founded, an organization that provides information about dyslexia to the dyslexia community and explores ways to simplify reading for people with dyslexia. offers Boer’s user-friendly font to schools for both print and digital use at a low rate in order to support its goal of engaging dyslexic kids in reading. For a one-time fee, individuals can also purchase and download Dyslexie to their computers.

Businesses such as Shell, Citibank, Pixar, and Nintendo have purchased the font for use by their employees, and, according to Boer, local governments and departments in the UK, Italy, and the US, including NASA, have started offering Dyslexie font to their employees or using it in their materials.

Compare Dyslexie font to more traditional fonts like Times and Helvetica

Dyslexic readers have taken notice. In 2022, when NOS, the preeminent news organization in Boer’s home country of Holland, began offering Dyslexie font to its readers, Boer says he received many notes of appreciation from new readers, who said that for the first time they were able to follow the newspaper. Soon after, the Dutch government began offering Dyslexie font to its employees, and added it to their app.

Over the years, there have been other fonts advertised as dyslexia-friendly, but Boer claims that these “poor imitations” are not based on a thorough understanding of the condition.


“What differentiates Dyslexie font is that it takes into serious consideration the needs of a dyslexic person, since the designer [me] knows them first-hand,” he said.

Boer spends much of his time raising awareness of the positive aspects of neurodiversity, visiting Google, Facebook/Meta, and Apple in an effort to promote Dyslexie font.

“Companies benefit from people who learn in different ways, strengthening the diversity and talent of their teams,” he said.

Offering Dyslexie font, he believes, is one way to include a broader spectrum of employees in the workplace.

The design world appears to agree. The font received first prize at the Smart Future Minds Award in Amsterdam in 2011, and Boer was a finalist in the INDEX: Design to Improve Life awards in Copenhagen in 2013. An exhibit about Dyslexie font is part of the Prints, Drawings and Paintings collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Its very first recognition, however, was awarded back in 2008: For his work creating Dyslexie font, Boer graduated from art school with honors.

Betsy Groban can be reached at