Sans-serif typeface

from Braille Institute
designed by Elliott Scott, Linus Boman, Megan Eiswerth, Theodore Petrosky

4 Styles

2 Weights: Regular and Bold
with matching obliques

Best for

  • Headings (display text)
  • Long reading text (body text)
  • User Interfaces (functional text)

License

Free

Specialty

A free sans-serif typeface tailored towards ideal character recognition. It makes your copy more accessible while also giving it a unique look.

My thoughts on Atkinson Hyperlegible

The typeface Atkinson Hyperlegible from the American Braille Institute is a fairly liked insider tip when it comes to quality free fonts. So it’s about time to take a closer look at what makes it so popular. As the hyper long name suggest, the typeface aims for ideal readability by making characters highly distinct while remaining a simple sans-serif design.

The words quick type Il1 B8 O0 set in Atkinson Hyperlegible and Google’s Roboto as a comparison
When comparing it to Roboto, you see that Atkinson Hyperlegible makes is much easier to tell often mixed up characters apart.

Specific design features help to tell characters apart that easily can be mixed up. Crucial for low vision readers, but at the same time it can give your design a more unique look. Everyone wins 🤗, yay! I’m particularly in love with the numerals, the tail at the lower case q, and the elegant serif at the small i. It all makes the typeface an ideal choice for copy and UI design.

What I really like about this typeface is how unusual some characters are. Especially in small sizes this typeface 
remains readable with very sturdy strokes. But it can also be quite spacious in headings, especially when bold. Also the italic feels a bit skewed, at an angle of 12°. It is best for body text, captions or UIs. With lovely numerals.

But not everything is perfect to me about Atkinson Hyperlegibe – oh no! When set bigger, it works in sizes up to 28 to 34 px. But much larger the typeface soon becomes too space consuming or even looks dull, especially in bold. Also, the italics are more angled than usual. I can see the benefit of making them stand out more, which is helpful for visually impaired readers, but they also feel quite skewed 🫤.

The italics clearly stands out more in Atkinson. But they also feel exaggerated. With Roboto they blend in more. Atkinson Hyperlegible Italic angled at 12°
The italics clearly stands out more in Atkinson. But they also feel exaggerated. With Roboto they blend in more. Roboto Italic angled by 10°

So when you’re choosing Atkinson Hyperlegible, I recommend pairing it with another typeface for headings or other display text. If you need some ideas, here you can find three free font pairings.

Inter for Headings is like a simpler version of Atkinson Hyperlegible
Inter is one out of three free font pairings for Atkinson Hyperlegible

Recommended Font Pairing

Atkinso Hyperlegible lives between ration and geometric typefaces. If you want to pair it with something warmer for copy, pick the serif typeface Charter. Ideal for headings is quite similar General Sans.

Atkinson Hyperlegible (free)
Atkinson Hyperlegible (free)
  • Headings
  • Copy
  • UI Text

Learn more about pairing typefaces using the Font Matrix.


What do you think of this week’s typeface? Let me know in the comments, and share it with me when you used it in a project!

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8 Comments

  1. This is a gem, and the licence is quite reasonable. I’m not vision impaired (yet) but still like typefaces whose iIl1 and oO0 characters are clearly distinguishable without having to see them side by side.

    Letdowns are the G (downward stroke) and 8 (very exaggerated size difference from top to bottom). Open counters are great though.

    1. Very reasonable, Jeremy 😂. I like those typefaces too for running text, and especially UI design. Have you used it before?

      1. No, I’m seeing it for the first time. Thank you for highlighting it.

  2. I first discovered this font a couple years ago when I working with a client, who was a dyslexia teacher. We needed a font that would be easy to read and this is one of the options I suggested.

    My daughter is currently working on a project to produce digital learning content for adult learners at a large college with something like 20,000 students across multiple campuses. I recommended Atkinson Hyperlegible as a safe option for the widest range of students and it is now being used for that purpose. I’ll be sure to pass on the link to this post, so she can read it.

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