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Access Font


Varied type for varied vision. This project uses the variable font format to shape fonts to a range of experiences of low vision. A website shapes a base typeface to each user's requirements and a browser extension sets the internet in the user's resulting unique font file. In progress.

A visual demonstration of letter shape adjustments made to several characters: a capitol J, a lower l, a 1, a 4, a capitol C

Sources of low vision include cataracts, uncorrected visual distortions, visual pathway disease, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma among others. Low vision varies widely in cause and degree but often shares similar expressions: a variety of blurs in the visual field.

A visual demonstration of letter shape adjustments made to several characters: a capitol J, a lower l, a 1, a 4, a capitol C

A number of typographic strategies have been used to aid low vision in several typefaces. All have been static, unchangeable. The recent introduction of the variable font format, Opentype 1.8, allows near infinite end user control of letter characteristics. Ceramic uses this format to adjust to each users’ specific requirements. For example, here, similar letters are variably differentiated to avoid confusion. Distinction comes at the expense of traditional legibility so users balance their own needs.


The master typeface technically contains 200 trillion unique iterations. Practically, there are likely hundreds of useful versions.

Here, taller letters in select characters create more unique word shapes.



Mirrored letters are difficult to differentiate for people with dyslexia who flip characters, so a range of distinction has been built in.

Exaggerated punctuation clarifies sentence structure.

Open apertures prevent confusion between similar shapes (c's and o's, A's and 4's at small point sizes.)

A web platform tailors the typeface to individual needs based on a 20 questions/ binary tree model, comparing users preferences and time spent reading similar passages of text.

A browser extension sets the internet in each users tailored font.

The internet set in Ceramic: Mediated Matter, MIT.
The internet set in Ceramic: Faber Futures Its Nice That

Type Specimen/ Reader

Type specimen font book.

This project is in progress: the typeface is functionally complete and software has been prototyped. At the moment, spacing is controlled by the browser extension. More sophisticated letter spacing controls are being explored, as is end user testing.

Ceramic Type Specimen

In August 2020, this project was awarded an honourable mention/top 4 for the Bold Award for Accessible Design by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) of Canada.

I want thank my advisor on this project Chris Hethrington, my type professor Quinn Keaveney, as well as the Shumka Centre and the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr for helping to explore next steps.

Ceramic Type Specimen/ Reader

Low vision varies widely in cause and degree but often shares similar expressions: a variety of blurs in the visual field. A number of typographic strategies have been used to aid low vision in several typefaces. All have been static, unchangeable.

The recent introduction of the variable font format allows near infinite end user control of letter characteristics. Ceramic uses this format to adjust to each users’ specific low vision user needs.

The master typeface contains 200 trillion unique iterations, varying four strategies plus weight. Increased distinction decreases misidentification of similar letters (I and l for example). Increased punctuation size helps to clarify sentence structure. Increased apertures prevent confusion between similar shapes, especially at small sizes (c and o, A and 4, for example). Heightened stem heights assist people who read by unique word shapes. Differentiation comes at the expense of traditional legibility so the system tailors type to each user.

This project is in progress. The typeface is nearly complete and software has been prototyped. At the moment, letter spacing is controlled by the browser extension. More sophisticated letter spacing controls are being explored.

I want to say thank you to my advisor on this project Chris Hethrington, my type professor Quinn Keaveney, as well as the Shumka Centre and the Health Design Lab at Emily Carr for helping me explore next steps.


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