tuesday, 5 july 2022

completes the evolution of the monospaced dyslexic fonts and their unique set of asymmetric glyphs and double cell width characters—adding a tweaked cap height to the Unolexic font.

By increasing the cap (capital) height—a very small amount without significantly affecting the monospaced character cell proportions—at small font sizes, with a line spacing of 1.4 or more (YMMV), font legibility is enhanced and the typeface edges more closely to the vertical stroke proportions of Grotesque fonts—hence, the adoption of the Grotesk family name from the Universal Grotesk influenced Unolexic font.

Characters stand out with the taller ascenders (and extended descenders) and improved gaps (noticeably with the hook of the lower case f and g). Capital letters look less compressed with the added cap height, as well—the J gaining a touch of authority, the P loop more air (height-wise) and the D a fuller proportion.

build settings

Differences between the font rendering engines of the Kindle and Kobo platforms also become more evident, calling for..

cap = 'default_cap * 1.055' sb = 'default_sb * 0.7150' # for Kobo sb = 'default_sb * 0.6150' # for Kindle

As can be seen, only a very subtle increase to the default cap height is applied to the Iosevka configuration file.

The side bearing differences between the two platforms, however, illustrate just how different these two ereaders are “under the hood” (which comes as somewhat of a surprise considering how both are built on the Linux platform).

typeface character

the hallmark of the monospaced dyslexic fonts developed on this site are the asymmetric glyphs and judiciously applied double width characters (notably the Space). Doing so, offers a different approach to the more familiar dyslexic font design with their heavy irregular anchoring strokes—which some Dyslexia conditions may require.

Grotesk presents an alternate approach applying asymmetric glyphs (to counter dyslexic mirroring of the commonly symmetric lower case b d p q and n u characters, thereby, increasing legibility with the aesthetically pleasing strokes of a geometric typeface) along with some upper case embellishments (to improve the “air” within the monospaced cell restrictions) and monospaced cell width for uniform visual separation and cadence..

letter glyph attribute origin
lower case b toothless-rounded asymmetry Universal Grotesk
lower case d toothless-serifless asymmetry  
lower case f flat-hook-extended descender Universal Grotesk
lower case n straight asymmetry  
lower case p earless-corner asymmetry  
lower case q hook-tailed asymmetry Atkinson Hyperlegible
lower case u toothless-rounded asymmetry Futura
capital J descending-flat-hook-serifless descender  
capital Q detached-bend-tailed open descender  

The lower case b f u and capital J Q emphasize a modern geometric heritage, while the remaining asymmetric glyph choices maximize side bearing “air” (character separation)—for dyslexic identification and legibility.

Altogether, a distinctive yet seductively beautiful (IMO) typeface results with a strong modern feel—despite the asymmetric glyphs. i am biased, of course. YMMV (but to these eyes Grotesk offers a very clean maximum legibility font for 300PPI eink screens).


This has worked out so well for the small font sizes i use on my ereaders, that i have similarly applied this cap height adjustment to the Monolexic and elementary typefaces (Unolexic is identical to Grotesk)—at larger font sizes, the standard issue of Unolexic, Monolexic and elementary may suffice.

Dyslexic ranking remains the same: first is Grotesk, followed by Monolexic, then elementary. Serifed (“i” family name prefix) for maximum legibility, as well as, serifless capital I typefaces have been created.

The font files may be found here.

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