One font to rule the halls

What’s in a font? I’ve always found fonts fascinating, so I was excited to hear that one UK school had a font professionally designed to suit their community.

Castledown font sample

After years of using standard library fonts, [Castledown Primary School headmaster Neil] Small had grown weary. “I’ve been frustrated with the lack of clarity of letters in fonts since my beginnings as a teacher,” he explains. He wanted a unifying typeface that could satisfy all of Castledown’s guidelines: sans-serif, dyslexic-friendly, and shaped similarly to the way kids naturally write. On top of all that, the font should be a learning tool, helping students to improve their reading and writing.

Interestingly, the closest font the school could find to the one they wanted was Comic Sans, which has long been ridiculed as the favourite font of people with bad taste and poor design skills.*

The most exciting part for me is the idea that designers – and institutions like schools, evidently – are tapping into subtle design cues (e.g. fonts that are slightly wider at the bottom) to support a wide range of users (e.g people with dyslexia), rather than catering solely to the mainstream. It’s exciting to watch our society increasingly support people’s diversity, even in these small ways.

—//—

*I used to work at a t-shirt printer with three other people who were equally design-brained, to the point that we’d joke with one another though the fonts we chose. My boss there may still hold a grudge for the file she opened to print for a friend one day, only to find it done in 100% Comic Sans.

P.S. Also, thanks to everyone, local and distant, who supported me and the rest of Goldilocks Zone for the event yesterday. We’ve really appreciated all the love coming our way!

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2 thoughts on “One font to rule the halls

  1. Zach says:

    Wow that’s really neat! Do you know if they own the design, or are they allowing other schools to use it?

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