Font Improvement

I write all my papers, letters, and exams using the typeface Times New Roman.  As a lunch-table discussion here in England revealed, the University insists on certain typefaces that are dyslexia-friendly, particularly Arial, Trebuchet, and Verdana.  It costs me or any other faculty member nothing to use one of these on exams; non-dyslexic students are not harmed by them, and dyslexic students are better off.  Henceforth, no more Times New Roman on tests — mine will all be in Arial.  A clear Pareto improvement. (HT: MS)

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  1. Harry Guinness says:

    It’s not quite a Pareto improvement as different fonts can convey different things. The more dyslexic friendly Arial is also substantially more casual than the classy Times New Roman. That might be fine for casual communications but if you’re sending someone a stern bollocking then the casual nature of the font won’t gel with the harsh nature of the words! Depending on the school, you might find that the amount of people with an interest in design who would notice font choices might outweigh the number of dyslexics!

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  2. EdW says:

    Times New Roman is a serif font, and Arial, Trebuchet, and Verdana are sans-serif. I suspect the cleaner look of a sans-serif font is the reason for the preference.

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  3. David Wilkinson says:

    *uses Georgia*

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  4. ERLW says:

    What about for Mathematics? Serif fonts are a necessity to communicate function f and especially variable x which, sans-serif, would look like a multiplication symbol “blown over”.

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  5. victoria says:

    Lexia is a font designed especially to be readable by dyslexic people, and it’s free to download! I print all my zines in lexia font

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  6. Steve Nations says:

    What about your glob posts?

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  7. Steven J. says:

    I don’t know if this is on the Pareto level. Studies have shown that non-serif fonts (like Arial, Verdana, etc.) are slightly harder to read than serif fonts when the text is longer than a few words.

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  8. Doug B says:


    Interesting perspective on use of fonts. I never have more than 3 sizes of the same font on any correspondence or artwork. Otherwise it can appear unruly.

    I notice your post uses a font of Georgia 10.5. Perhaps the Freakazoids can update to Arial, Trebuchet or Verdana as a public service.


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    • James says:

      Just FYI, a font and its size and color are all attributes that are completely controllable on the user side. Doesn’t matter what font (if any) the posters specify: I’ve told my browser to display it using the Bitstream Vera sans-serif font, in a size which is large enough to be easily readable – actual point size being irrelevant on a display, of course.

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      • Bill Toscano says:

        One study does not a fact make.

        And, seriously, in the business world no one is changing fonts for you.

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