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A Typeface for Dyslexics

I love it when design is used for a greater purpose. Designer Christian Boer has created a typeface to help dyslexics read more accurately and with less frustration.

“When they’re reading, people with dyslexia often unconsciously switch, rotate and mirror letters in their minds. Traditional typefaces make this worse, because they base some letter designs on others, inadvertently creating ‘twin letters’ for people with dyslexia.

Boer, a dyslexic himself, designed the letters with heavier bottom portions to prevent the reader’s mind from turning them upside down.

Lengthened ascenders and descenders – the portions of the characters that stretch beyond the two main horizontal guides – also makes them easier to tell apart.

Letters that usually appear similar are subtly italicized and have added tails where possible, so they no longer look alike and pose less risk of the reader mirroring them.

Boer has also added larger spaces between letters and words, as well as bold capitals and punctuation marks so the start and end of sentences can be better differentiated.

Dyslexia is estimated to affect 10 percent of the world’s population.

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Thanksgiving Dinner with Mondiran, Picasso and Van Gogh

Hannah Rothstein’s parents probably encouraged her to play with her food. The San Francisco-based artist created 10 portraits of Thanksgiving dinner as would-be designed by famous artists. Pollack splatters the plate like a 2 year old, Mondiran restrains himself to a linear feast and Rene Magritte insists “This is not a meal.” To see all 10 visit the artist’s website. Prints are available, and Rothstein is donating 10% of the profits to the SF-Marin Food Bank.

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Digital to Overtake TV Ad Spending in Two Years

U.S. advertisers’ spending on digital advertising will overtake TV in 2016 and hit $103 billion in 2019 to represent 36% of all ad spending, according to Forrester’s latest estimates based on its ForecastView model. U.S. advertisers will spend $85.8 billion on TV ads in 2019, which will equal 30% of overall ad spending that year, according to Forrester.

But digital won’t usurp TV because of big brand advertisers taking their commercial money and redirecting it toward YouTube and Facebook. There will be some cannibalization of TV budgets, but the bigger contributing factor will be an influx of new money dedicated to digital because marketers are able to prove that digital works, said Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk.

Marketers aren’t upping their digital budgets because of bright shiny objects like so-called native ads or computer-automated programmatic buying processes. They’re doing so because the economy has recovered. Advertisers have more money to spend now than in recent years and the oversupply of ad inventory online gives them a lot of places to put that money. And they’re comfortable spending their money online because years of testing and learning has shown those digital dollars are well spent.

via Advertising Age

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Iconography: Learn Chinese!

At Skiilight, we hold that iconography is the building block to your brand. Logos, letterforms, and icons combine to provide a user experience that creates meaning. Take a few moments (6 in fact) to learn the icons that billions of people already know.

In this TED Talk, ShaoLan walks through a simple lesson in recognizing the ideas behind the characters and their meaning — building from a few simple forms to more complex concepts.


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News Websites All Look the Same – Here’s Why.

Mashable blogger Jason Abbruzzese takes a look at the similarities between the most popular media websites. Why do they all seem to look the same?

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“It’s sort of the same way that all cars look more or less the same. There’s only so many ways you can design a doorknob to where it’s going to be effective,” said Brad Frost, a web designer that has worked on the websites for TechCrunch and Entertainment Weekly.

Cars and doorknobs serve a purpose under certain constraints, just like websites. But unlike those everyday items, the demands on websites have changed drastically as audiences have taken to different devices.

“To a certain degree, websites always look the same. Design is fashion and it follows trends. We’re in the middle of a trend of big and clunky, not just because of responsive design but also because of touch,” Clark added. “As touch has spread from small screens to laptops and desktops, all desktop designs have to be touch-friendly, and that has influenced the aesthetic, too.”

Enter Responsive Design

Numerous major media sites have shifted to responsive design with similar results — multi-column, boxy and flat designs that look almost strangely similar.

At first, it was tenable to create multiple sites: one for mobile, another for desktop. Now, more sites are moving to the responsive design as a one-size-fits-all solution. There are simply too many different screens and experiences to plan for.

“Your head is going to explode trying to support that stuff, let alone afford it,” Clark said.

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“Media sites have a specific limitation called an ad unit that really limits the flexibility of design, because unlike every other unit, this ad can’t change size,” Clark said.

Online advertising guidelines are set by the Internet Advertising Bureau so marketers and websites can have a common market. Rigid ad sizes may help sales, but end up being a pain for designers.

“You have these dinosaurs grasping at straws, that haven’t been able to move as fast as the rest of the industry, and it creates a real restraint,” Frost said.

Many screens, many ad types

“As a digital designer, our world is now going from watch space to 80-inch screens, so what do you do with that? Do you seriously try to design one interface for all of those screen sizes and all of those experiences?” Storey said.

And it’s not just screens. The rise of contextual advertising, in which a variety of data is used to tailor advertisements, could end up pushing design forward as well.

“The content and experience that brands are going to want to offer is going to demand more design and more design thinking, more consideration for not only those unique devices, but also where you are and what time you are there,” Storey said.

Via Mashable