The importance of typography for learning

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There are thousands and thousands of different fonts such as sans serif font. We see them every day in magazines, books, applications, public signage or labelled at the entrance of a store. They are not just letters; each font is designed with a specific purpose and conveys an important part of the information we read in it. Have you ever wondered how important typography is in the field of education and learning?

Rosemary Sassoon is a figure little known to the general public. She was born in 1931, in a town near London, and she begins to be interested in the letter during her adolescence. A few years later she enters an art school. Rosemary has passed through the world of textile design, lettering and packaging design, and has subsequently dedicated her life to the study of writing in adults with motor limitations and in children, and how the level of legibility of the letters can help facilitate the understanding of the words.

Why is typography important in learning?

It is common to find different types of letters in the texts of school material, especially noteworthy letters with ligatures or handwritten. This is because these types of letters have a simpler stroke than a printing font and, consequently, their identification and assimilation are much easier for a child who is laying the foundations of reading and writing.

Reading and writing are neural rather than manual processes.

Readability is subjective. It depends on the needs of each one and the medium in which the text appears. The graphic features that are needed in the typography of a brochure, a cereal box or a school textbook are not the same. Similarly, a child with high reading abilities does not have the same needs as a child with reading problems. For this reason, and taking into account the legibility needs of the various groups, selecting some graphic characteristics in the letters of the texts, such as the type of letter, line spacing or letter spacing.

Some sources, such as Verdana, can favour the reading processes of children who begin with learning to read and write.

Even you can buy fonts which are designed to allow easy recognition of known words (Word Shape Model) and so that spaces between letters allow easy reading of unknown words, in order to identify each spelling separately (Serial letter Recognition Model). Look at the stroke of each letter. It has a rhythm that guides the eye during reading and leads smoothly from one letter to another with much less effort.

The objective to which we should aspire then is to contemplate, at a minimum, the principle of readability as an indicator of the effectiveness of design in typefaces, and to reflect on how we learn and understand visually.

Legibility is the characteristic that tells us how quickly and easily a text can be read.

It is very interesting to see how the distances between letters in the use of typography can be perceived. In a way, it can be a graphic and visual way of empathizing with people who have difficulty interpreting the text.

If all these questions were taken a little more into account in the educational field, we could offer very favourable material in the acquisition of reading and with diversity in the classroom, in terms of legibility issues, and thereby contribute to the creation of inclusive, accessible material for children with and without reading problems such as dyslexia.

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