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How to Use Graphic Design to Engage Dyslexic Students

student working on laptop

International Dyslexia Association states, “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological. Difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities characterize it. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”

What we can deduce from this definition is that dyslexic students’ intelligence is the same as any other person, but they understand information differently. They often have difficulty reading a sentence or connecting letters and words to make sense.

According to rough estimation, around 10-15% of the global population has dyslexia, that’s roughly 800 million people. We as graphic designers need to consider this 10% of the population when creating our designs in order to provide them with a seamless user experience. That’s not difficult at all; in fact, designing anything for dyslexic students will be easily understood by other students or users too.

With that information in mind, let’s learn useful tips for using graphic designing to help dyslexic students.

10 Tips For Designing for Dyslexia Students

There are many things you can do to assist someone with dyslexia in processing language more effectively. We will discuss 10 tips that you can implement in your designs to make them user-friendly for dyslexic students. Using these best practices, you can make subtle changes to your designs without causing a major change. So let’s get started.

1.    Use Sans-Serif Fonts

People with dyslexia tend to find it difficult to distinguish between the shapes of letters and often perceive characters to run together. Although serif fonts facilitate reading for many users, they distort the letter shapes for those who have dyslexia.

Instead, try using ‘sans serif’ fonts such as Arial, Verdana, or Tahoma in your designs. Familiar sans serif fonts can improve readability even more than dyslexic-specific fonts. Simply because readers have become more familiar with their letter shapes.

2.    Use Larger Text

Whether you use serifs or sans serifs, using a larger font will benefit dyslexic readers greatly. Readers who are dyslexic may have difficulty reading small text. Use a larger font size in your content, at least 12 points, and if possible, 14 or 16 points if you are targeting dyslexic students.

3.    Adjust The Spacing Between Letters and Words

You can also improve your design text readability by slightly reducing the spacing between letters, while increasing the spacing between words, regardless of the font you choose. As a result, the reader can group and separate the words more effectively.

4.    Italics and Underlining Should be Avoided

In most cases, italicizing or underlining a word emphasizes its meaning. Dyslexic readers, however, may be adversely affected by text decorations such as italics and underlines. Instead, use bold text to highlight important words, so they can read easily

5.    Use Bulleted and Numbered List To Represent Data

It may be easier for dyslexic readers to follow a text when it is divided into smaller chunks. Use bullet points and numbered lists to help organize the information you present. Also, remember the above 4 points too when you follow this tip.

6.    Make Sure the Background is High Contrast

Readers who are dyslexic may also experience difficulties with text that is low in contrast. Always use colour combinations with high contrast, such as black text on a white background or white text on a black background, even grey text on a white background is also helpful.

Remember not to use too similar colours, such as red text on a green background. This is a very important point to remember when designing graphics for dyslexic students.

7.    Use Visual Elements in Your Design

Reading longer texts may be difficult for dyslexic readers, leading them to disengage from the content. Using visual aids will assist them in comprehending the information presented to them, thus keeping them engaged.

Dyslexic readers may find it easier to understand information that is presented through visual aids such as images, charts, and graphs.

8.    Use Clear Layouts

A large amount of visual clutter can easily overwhelm dyslexic readers. It is important to use a layout that is clear and simple with plenty of white space to reduce distractions.

9.    Provide Audio or Video Support

Audio or video support can benefit dyslexic students, especially when reading long or complex texts. If you want to explain concepts or ideas visually, you can provide audio recordings of texts or video lectures. Students with dyslexia can reinforce their understanding of the material at their own pace through this method.

Provide subtitles or captions in the videos for hard-hearing students.

10. Test Your Designs

Lastly, to ensure your designs are effective, you should test them with dyslexic students. You may wish to consult with dyslexic students regarding the readability, clarity, and accessibility of your designs. Consider their feedback when making improvements to ensure that your designs are engaging and accessible to other dyslexic students.


Graphic design can be useful for engaging dyslexic students and enhancing their learning experience. By utilizing certain design principles, educators can create materials that are more accessible and effective for dyslexic students.

As graphic designers, through our creativity, we can help dyslexic students process information better and improve their comprehension as well.

Educators need to consider the needs of all students, including those with dyslexia, and graphic design can be very helpful in teaching them. We hope after reading these 10 tips, you can easily create design and content for dyslexia students.

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The author

Lindsay Hoover is a freelance digital marketer and content creator. Writing is her passion. She writes about business, branding and graphic design. When not writing she likes to doodle and playing with her cat Flubo.

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