As someone with a print disability, I am very particular about fonts. For me, a good font is one that has easy to distinguish letters, is sans-serif, and that is easy for me to read on both printed and digital materials. Here are my favorite free fonts for print disabilities that meet this description and that I use when creating accessible materials.
Arial is a popular choice for readers with low vision, and my high school teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) recommended that all of my classroom materials be printed in Arial font. Google Fonts has their own version of Arial called Arimo, which is the font I use for all body text on my website.
Helvetica is another popular sans serif font choice for print disabilities, and I find the heavier weight works better when reading on an inverted display or high contrast mode. Verdana is also a popular font choice that works well on high-contrast displays, and both come pre-installed on all computers.
Looking to learn more about Helvetica? Consider watching the Helvetica documentary on Kanopy, which is free with participating libraries.
Bebas Neue is designed for headings and attention grabbing text, and I use it on my website for post headings. In presentations, I often use it for title slides and headings as it is easy to identify letters even when sitting far away. Bebas Neue does not come built into computers, but is available in many graphic design programs such as Canva and PicsArt.
Calibri is the default font style for Microsoft products and enlarges really well, so the text is easy to read at all font sizes. For those who prefer serif fonts, Cambria is the default serif font for Microsoft products and was previously the default font for the Microsoft Word program. Both Calibri and Cambria can be accessed in Google Workspace products like Google Docs and Slides, in addition to Microsoft Office.
Looking for a font that has specifically been designed for low vision users? The APHont may be the perfect font for you. Created by the American Printinghouse for the Blind, it’s designed to be read in any font size or weight. There are also longer tails on the letters Q, G, J, and Y. In order to download this font for free, users need to certify that it will be used by someone with vision impairment.
Comic Sans is a popular font for people with print disabilities that is widely available across devices and design programs, with no extra downloads needed. It is a thinner weight than the OpenDyslexic font, which is specifically designed for readers with dyslexia and has weighted bottoms. I personally find Comic Sans easier to read than OpenDyslexic.
Cursive fonts are terrible choices for people with print disabilities, but there are situations where a cursive/script font may be required, such as teaching someone with low vision how to sign their name. For this purpose, the bold lines of Lavanderia work well for displaying text written in cursive, but script fonts should generally be avoided.
By Veronica Lewis/Veronica With Four Eyes, www.veroniiiica.com
Updated September 2023; original post published August 2018.
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