Low vision calendar company seeks a better font

Greetings,
I am a legally-blind small businessman.  I produce the EZ2See® weekly planner calendar.  Google "EZ2See calendar" or visit my website at: EZ2SeeProducts.com  to see what I'm doing.

My graphic person uses a Helvetica font.  The letters are okay, but not great.  The number fonts present even greater problems for those with vision impairments.  I have run different shapes past many people and know what improvements are needed.

I am looking for either suggestions on a far better font for my purposes or to hire a font designer to work with me to create the EZ2See font.

Thank you for your interest or any help you can provide.
Sincerely,
Edward Cohen
EZ2SeeProducts.com
  

Comments

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,440
    Look for something in the category of Humanist Sans Serif typefaces. These will tend to have more open apertures, making it easier to distinguish numerals 3 6 8 9 from each other. If budget is a consideration, there are a number of libre (open source) fonts that you could try, e.g. Noto Sans.
  • Almost any font will perform better than Helvetica... Including many that come pre-installed on your computer.
  • Verdana. Free on your computer and will provide high legibility at all sizes. 

  • My graphic person uses a Helvetica font.  The letters are okay, but not great.  The number fonts present even greater problems for those with vision impairments.  I have run different shapes past many people and know what improvements are needed.
      
    Just as a matter of interest what are the adjustments which need to be made?

  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,085
    edited December 2017
    In Helvetica, the 3, 6 and 9 are nearly closed, and are much too similar to the 8. With any kind of stress in the viewing conditions (small size, low light, vision impairment, distant viewing, sunlight glare...) this makes them unnecessarily hard to distinguish.

    This used to drive me nuts on the iPhone. I jailbroke my phone just to be able to change the font, at one point. Too much trouble to keep it up, though.  :(  I would change the font again in a heartbeat if I could; even though San Francisco isn't nearly as bad, it could be much better.
  • joeclarkjoeclark Posts: 123

    Looking at your layouts:

    1. Your heavy black lines are a problem and are not at all necessary even in a tabular calendar. Try light grey or dotted lines.
    2. The heavy black lines in what I take to be the notes field below each month’s calendar are not fit for purpose. If you absolutely positively have to produce guide lines (not “guidelines”) for this low-vision user group, use dotted lines with lots of vertical distance between them. Because remember: People are handwriting here, not printing out 12-point computer fonts.
    3. Too-tight spacing is another of Helvetica’s many deficiencies for legibility. For any substitute you would choose, increase letterspacing (not “kerning”) by a few units. I’m sure your designer knows how to do this in InDesign, which is, I’m further sure, the software he or she is using (and not banging things out in Word for Windows).
    4. I don’t think a strong black background is necessary for column headers. Why not very dark grey?
    5. Verdana isn’t a good option because it looks ridiculous in huge sizes. Many of the Microsoft fonts beginning with C, like Calibri, that are built into Windows have, first of all, been designed by members of this forum and look reasonable when set large.

    Have you tested any of these layouts or any of this typesetting with your actual users? Unless and until you do that, I don’t see the merit in low-vision persons’ buying your products.

  • If numerals are important to you, you might want to review this talk... 
  • Agree with Aaron, IKEA wouldn't have picked it for huge posters if it didn't work at large sizes. ;-)
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,289
    You don’t have to use the same typeface throughout.
    Futura has quite distinct figures.
    Perhaps the style of 3 which has a sharp top right would make that number less like 8, but then again, perhaps too much like 5?

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