Transitional Type for the Visually Impaired

My name is Katie Lee and I'm a graphic design student at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio; caffeine addict and lover of type. This blog documents the progress of my six-month long senior capstone project from concept to conclusion. Read my project statement here.  

List of Potential Font Names

Lovi Sans
Claro Sans
Clarivo
Opta Sans
Legifont
Perspicuo

(is it wrong to call a typeface ‘sans’ if it doesn’t have a serif equivalent yet?)

i thought i would be better at this. got any other ideas?

Amazing article about designing type systems by Peter Biľak (via ILT)

Amazing article about designing type systems by Peter Biľak (via ILT)

and so it begins…

and so it begins…

Initial Letterforms
aegno = cheng 
OEMhaegk = cheng
hamburgefontsiv = cheng
aeioufjilqrt = problems
Tricky Combinations
m and rn
n and ri
d and ol
oa and oo
cl and d
Illi
General
The right half of a letter is more critical to recognition than the left. 
The upper half of a letter is more critical to recognition than the lower. 
Ends of all ascenders and descenders

Uppercase
In the arms; perhaps angled? ( E ) 
Adding crossbars to the uppercase ( i ) 
Adding a stem or spur the ( G ) 
Descending the ( J ) and adding a hook 
A unique leg to the ( R ) 
A unique tail to the ( Q ) 
Angled joints on the ( W ) ( V) and ( A ) 
Distinct offset between top and bottom of ( X ) 
Angled stems of the ( M ) 
Lowercase
Distinct tip and added tail to the ( l ); perhaps above cap height 
Perhaps no spur on the ( b ) but instead on the ( d )
Perhaps no spur on the ( q ) but instead on the ( p )
Experimentation with an angled eye in the ( e )
Bicameral ( a ) and ( g )
The upright stems of the ( n ) ( m ) ( h ) ( u ) and ( r )
Experimentation with height of ascender and tail on the ( t )
Wide or tall hook of the ( f )
Placement of dots of the ( j ) and ( i )
Shaped ending of the ( y )
Middle joint structure of the ( w )

Questions:
Which provides greater clarity: squared, horizontal endings or shaped?
(Notes from Karen Cheng’s Designing Type)

Initial Letterforms

  • aegno = cheng
  • OEMhaegk = cheng
  • hamburgefontsiv = cheng
  • aeioufjilqrt = problems

Tricky Combinations

  • m and rn
  • n and ri
  • d and ol
  • oa and oo
  • cl and d
  • Illi

General

  • The right half of a letter is more critical to recognition than the left.
  • The upper half of a letter is more critical to recognition than the lower.
  • Ends of all ascenders and descenders

Uppercase

  • In the arms; perhaps angled? ( E )
  • Adding crossbars to the uppercase ( i )
  • Adding a stem or spur the ( G )
  • Descending the ( J ) and adding a hook
  • A unique leg to the ( R )
  • A unique tail to the ( Q )
  • Angled joints on the ( W ) ( V) and ( A )
  • Distinct offset between top and bottom of ( X )
  • Angled stems of the ( M )

Lowercase

  • Distinct tip and added tail to the ( l ); perhaps above cap height
  • Perhaps no spur on the ( b ) but instead on the ( d )
  • Perhaps no spur on the ( q ) but instead on the ( p )
  • Experimentation with an angled eye in the ( e )
  • Bicameral ( a ) and ( g )
  • The upright stems of the ( n ) ( m ) ( h ) ( u ) and ( r )
  • Experimentation with height of ascender and tail on the ( t )
  • Wide or tall hook of the ( f )
  • Placement of dots of the ( j ) and ( i )
  • Shaped ending of the ( y )
  • Middle joint structure of the ( w )

Questions:

  • Which provides greater clarity: squared, horizontal endings or shaped?

(Notes from Karen Cheng’s Designing Type)

Indistinct letterforms vs. distinct letterforms.

(Source: opentype.info)

What Makes Letters Legible?

The next step in my project is to decide which letters I’m going to concentrate on drawing and clarifying first. While continuing research into which letterforms are most problematic for low vision users, I stumbled upon this resource that begins to identify which parts of the letter are most crucial to its legibility.

Primary takeaways:
Frequently misrecognized letters: e/c/o/a/n/u/i/j/l/t/s/f
Double story ‘a’ is more recognizable than a single story
Serifs on the ‘i’ and ‘j’ improve legibility
Broader ‘t’ and ‘l’ letterforms improve legibility

“[from these images] …we can clearly see, that we mostly pay attention to the features of a letter skeleton that make them unique in the Latin alphabet: the crossbar of the e, the stroke endings of the c and the existence and shape of ascenders and descenders in general.”

What Makes Letters Legible?

The next step in my project is to decide which letters I’m going to concentrate on drawing and clarifying first. While continuing research into which letterforms are most problematic for low vision users, I stumbled upon this resource that begins to identify which parts of the letter are most crucial to its legibility.

Primary takeaways:

  • Frequently misrecognized letters: e/c/o/a/n/u/i/j/l/t/s/f
  • Double story ‘a’ is more recognizable than a single story
  • Serifs on the ‘i’ and ‘j’ improve legibility
  • Broader ‘t’ and ‘l’ letterforms improve legibility
“[from these images] …we can clearly see, that we mostly pay attention to the features of a letter skeleton that make them unique in the Latin alphabet: the crossbar of the e, the stroke endings of the c and the existence and shape of ascenders and descenders in general.”
“.. motivate visitors by targeting an audience
.. focus content so visitors aren’t overloaded
.. immerse them within a “story”
.. use modularity to break down a complex topic
.. make it skimmable for quick comprehension
.. create patterns for traffic and circulation
.. capture curiosity through dynamic storytelling
.. inspire intreraction by tapping into their emotion
.. integrate technology to enhance, not detract
.. layer content in a hierarchal manner”

10 Tips to Great Museum Exhibit Design

Already daydreaming about what my exhibit space will look like.

Already daydreaming about what my exhibit space will look like.