If Comic Sans can help people with dyslexia, why is it still a punchline? A new campaign explores
This Dyslexia Awareness Month, Dyslexia Scotland asking designers to rethink how inclusive their design decisions are, harnessing the ultimate eye-catcher of a font.
- Liz Gorny
- 5 October 2022
Comic Sans is the comedic low-hanging fruit of the design world. Chastised for its unprofessional, primary school print-off capabilities, it’s a typeface that at one point or another, like Coldplay or Twilight, became cool to hate. But the denunciation of Comic Sans in design overlooks one of its greatest strengths: it can help people with dyslexia read texts more easily. As such, it’s the focal point of a new campaign from Dyslexia Scotland, together with Innocean Berlin and WeTransfer, for Dyslexia Awareness Month. Though the font is the eye-catching poster child, the campaign speaks to an even wider problem, hoping to raise awareness around the need for a more inclusive mindset at large in design.
So what makes Comic Sans so special? As a recent release from WeTransfer and Dyslexia Scotland explains, the “same irregularity which makes it so undesirable to designers is what helps people with dyslexia put into focus texts that otherwise feel overwhelmingly chaotic.” The campaign, titled There’s Nothing Comic About Dyslexia, adopts the use of the font across all assets, which range from print, film, OOH, social media posts and digital. WeTransfer supports the campaign with ad inventory, using its digital wallpapers and workflow features to spread the word on why “beautiful design and being dyslexia-friendly don’t need to be mutually exclusive,” the release adds.
Of course, “the objective of the campaign is not to make designers magically fall in love with Comic Sans,” the press release continues. Instead, it aims to serve as a reminder to all designers of the major role that they carry “to reflect the realities of people everywhere and use their influence to push for a more inclusive design mindset”. Even if this doesn’t mean turning to Comic Sans for their next project, it does mean designing or exploring dyslexia-friendly fonts.
“There’s Nothing Comic About Dyslexia creates the opportunity for designers to make a significant social impact, as well as an amazing creative one, for the dyslexic community,” Katie Carmichael, lead for creative and digital at Dyslexia Scotland explains. “ We hope that the campaign activates many more individuals, groups and whole sectors to take strides towards being innovative changemakers and we applaud the design community for being bold trailblazers on the journey to a more dyslexia-friendly mindset.”
GalleryDyslexia Scotland / Innocean Berlin / WeTransfer: There’s Nothing Comic About Dyslexia (Copyright © Dyslexia Scotland / Innocean Berlin / WeTransfer, 2022)
Dyslexia Scotland / Innocean Berlin / WeTransfer: There’s Nothing Comic About Dyslexia (Copyright © Dyslexia Scotland / Innocean Berlin / WeTransfer, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.