Choosing an accessible font
Guest Post by Julie Brown-Hallman
I love a good font. One of the joys of my job is the creative process of using typography to enhance visual appeal, convey a message or promote a brand. That’s why choosing the right font is crucial, and it becomes even more vital when we take accessibility into account. Especially since The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is aiming to make the province accessible to people with disabilities in key areas of daily living by 2025. It will ensure the importance of creating designs that truly connect with every individual.
Here are some valuable tips for selecting an accessible font:
1. Choose a font with good readability
This is the most important factor. Look for a font that is easy to read, with clear, well-defined letterforms, and good balance between the thickness of the strokes.
2. Use sans serif fonts
Sans serif fonts, such as Arial, Helvetica or Calibri are generally considered more accessible than serif fonts, such as Times New Roman, Georgia or Cambria. This is because their clean lines make it easier to distinguish between individual letters, especially at smaller sizes. Some of my favourites are Gotham, Montserrat and Myriad.
If you’re an agency like ours, working on MAC and PC for the benefit of strategic design and client communications, sans serif fonts also serve well for compatibility. Standard Microsoft fonts that are also Mac compatible include Arial, Helvetica and Calibri.
3. Avoid decorative fonts
While decorative or elaborate fonts may look visually appealing, they can be difficult to read, especially for people with visual impairments. The same applies to handwriting styles. Stick to simple, easy-to-read fonts in your communications.
4. Best practices
The size and style of your font is also important to ensure readability. Aim for a font size of at least 12 points, since one that is too small can be difficult to read. As can all caps and italics, which we recommend avoiding.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your work is accessible to everyone, regardless of their visual abilities. It can have a big impact on the reach and effectiveness of your design and communications. But also, who doesn’t love a good font?