No, these are not Egyptian hieroglyphs. If you have trouble grasping what is written in the picture above, you're not alone. It was created to mimic what people with dyslexia experience on a day-to-day basis.
Reading street signs, trying to decipher coffee menus at Starbucks, writing and sending emails... All these mundane activities become burdensome when your brain processes written and spoken information differently than others.
To express the difficulties people with dyslexia face every day and to help others better understand the reading disorder, London-based graphic designer Daniel Britton created a peculiar font that is supposed to simulate the way people with dyslexia consume text.
Britton, who has dyslexia, designed a font that allows non-dyslexic people to understand what it's like to read with the condition.
The font is called Dyslexia and consists of a set of glyphs that have been altered to make them appear less legible. The design uses about 40 percent of the original letter, which still makes it readable, but cuts down the reading pace to almost 10 times the speed:
"For most people the letters and numbers do not jump around on the page and the colours remain the same. Most people see the information and they see it clearly. For others, though, there is something in their minds that is stopping or slowing down the process. Usually, it's dyslexia."
Britton says that as a student, he always suffered from a general lack of awareness. His struggle to read was treated as laziness or as an obstacle that he couldn't surmount, which really got in the way of learning.
"Remember those 'bad' kids in the back of the class? Chances are, they were not just dumb, bored or acting stupid. It's possible they had dyslexia and regular teaching methods were not working on them," Britton told A Plus.
According to Yale Center for Dyslexia And Creativity, about 20 percent of the entire population struggles with this reading disability. However, it often goes unnoticed, undiagnosed and untreated.
Britton found out that he might have dyslexia when he was 11 years old. The first book he read entirely on his own was when he was 18. At the time, his reading ability was similar to that of a 10-year-old. He was failing his tests, his grades were low, and still everyone had trouble grasping the cause of the problem.
The text below is set in Britton's Dyslexia font. How fast can you read it?
Here's what the text actually says:
"This typography is not designed to recreate what it would be like to read if you were dyslexic, it is designed to simulate the feeling of reading with dyslexia by slowing the reading time of the viewer down to a speed of which someone who has dyslexia would read."
Britton says he wanted to make non-dyslexic people experience the frustration people with dyslexia are already familiar with.
"Not long ago I was invited to serve on jury duty. It was one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences in my life. Sitting in court, having to take jury oaths and read a short statement from the Bible, no more than twenty words. I was so nervous, I started stuttering, I felt like a child," Britton remembers.
Britton believes it is very important to start spreading awareness, especially in primary schools, so teachers and parents can better understand that children with dyslexia are just as capable of learning. They just need different teaching strategies.
One such strategy might be to use the Dyslexie typeface, a font by Dutch graphic designer Christian Boer that helps people with dyslexia read by varying the letter shapes to make them more distinct from each other.
Currently, Daniel is developing educational material pack on dyslexia for schools. You can help raise money for printing and marketing costs by visiting his crowdfunding website.