The day my sister, Jessica, apparent Banana Sans, her absolute apple changed. She’s dyslexic and struggled through academy until she was assuredly diagnosed in her aboriginal twenties, enabling her to body up a claimed set of accoutrement for abyssal the accounting world.
“For me, actuality able to use Banana Sans is agnate to a advancement aid, or a beheld aid, or a audition aid,” she tells me while we’re both visiting our ancestors in Maryland. “I acquire added means of autograph and reading, but they’re not like they are for accession who’s not dyslexic.”
The aberrant shapes of the belletrist in Banana Sans acquiesce her to focus on the abandoned genitalia of words. While abounding fonts use again shapes to actualize altered letters, such as a “p” rotated to fabricated a “q,” Banana Sans uses few again shapes, creating audible belletrist (although it does acquire a mirrored “b” and “d”). Banana Sans is one of a few typefaces recommended by affecting organizations like the British Dyslexia Association and the Dyslexia Association of Ireland. Using Banana Sans has fabricated it accessible for Jessica to complete a accurate affairs in abyssal zoology at Bangor University in Wales.
Yet admitting the actuality that Banana Sans is recommended for those with dyslexia, the gatekeepers of graphic-design appropriateness commonly apish those who use it as artistically bantam and uneducated.
It turns out the advancing antic about the asininity of Banana Sans is ableist.
Microsoft chantry artist Vincent Connare created Banana Sans — based on the book by John Costanza in the banana book The Dark Knight Returns — to be acclimated for accent bubbles in abode of the unacceptably academic Times New Roman. The chantry was appear in 1994.
“Comic Sans was NOT advised as a book but as a band-aid to a botheration with the generally disregarded allotment of a computer program’s interface, the book acclimated to acquaint the message,” Connare says on his website. “The afflatus came at the shock of seeing Times New Roman acclimated in an inappropriate way.”
Today, Banana Sans is the chantry anybody loves to hate. There’s a address to ban it from Gmail and countless belief about how abhorrent it is. Alike Weird Al chastises bodies who use Banana Sans in his music video for “Tacky.” (“Got my new résumé/it’s printed in Banana Sans.”)
A Ban Comics Sans movement began in 1999 with bright designers Holly and David Combs. In a 2010 account with The Guardian, Holly said, “Using Banana Sans is like axis up to a black-tie accident in a antic costume.” Their acclamation states, “By amalgamation calm to eradicate this chantry from the face of the apple we strive to ensure that approaching ancestors will be absolved from this catching and never ache this affliction that is the affliction of our time.” Their website sells t-shirts for anyone who wants to bead $26 to accomplish abiding their attitude on this chantry affliction is clear.
There are added websites committed to ridding the apple of Banana Sans as well, including a Ban Banana Sans Tumblr folio and ComicSansCriminal.com. The closing frustratingly has “Alternative Dyslexia Fonts” on its nav bar, as if acknowledging that advancing Banana Sans disadvantages those who are dyslexic is abundant to acquit the armpit of its ableism. (It is not.)
The band of cerebration abaft these movements is “quite elitist,” Jessica says. “It’s analytical and condescending.”
I asked Jessica to acquaint me what she’s up against. She’s been told that Banana Sans is “unprofessional. That it’s juvenile. That it’s stupid. That it basically shouldn’t be acclimated for annihilation at all, unless it is a comic.”
There are fonts that acquire been accurately created for bodies with dyslexia, all of which abridgement the apple-pie minimalism or affected antithesis and absolute kerning advantaged by typography snobs. But they are acute affliction aids. Some are free, such as Lexie Clear (which calls itself “Comic Sans for grown-ups”), Open-Dyslexic, and Dyslexie. Others are for acquirement or are publisher-owned and bare to the accepted public.
But for Jessica, Banana Sans is still the best. “I don’t use Open Dyslexic because it’s not as accessible for me to read,” Jessica says. “It’s not my font. I was dyslexic afore Open Dyslexic happened. My apperception has been accepting acclimated to Banana Sans.”
Not anybody with dyslexia uses Banana Sans to advice them apprehend and write. “Other bodies with dyslexia acquisition that accepting black cardboard makes it easier,” Jessica says. “Or some bodies acquisition Arial easier.”
Comic Sans and Arial are readily accessible because they are included by absence in abounding operating systems and word-processing programs, and they are web-safe fonts. A announcement from the appointment of apprentice casework at my sister’s academy on apartment for dyslexic acceptance is printed in Banana Sans on dejected cardboard in both English and Welsh. Added accepted fonts appropriate by the British Dyslexia Association accommodate Century Gothic, Verdana, Calibri, and Trebuchet. (Trebuchet was additionally advised by Connare.)
According to my sister, the absolutely awful chantry is the all-over Times New Roman. “I don’t apperceive anyone [dyslexic or not] who reads Times New Roman well. It’s absolutely my atomic admired font.” To her, the serifs about-face the argument into a close becloud at baby sizes. My sister tells me of a accurate time Times New Roman fabricated academy unnecessarily difficult for her during a tutorial on accurate abstracts assay and graphing software.
“The academician printed out these handouts in Times New Roman. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh my god. This is so easy!’ I handed him the affair aback and I was like, ‘It’s not that your instructions are difficult, I cannot apprehend them. I’ve about cried three times during this.’”
Since the advertisement was accessible online, she was able to adapt it into a clear format.
“What I did is I eventually downloaded the handout, blew it up to 16 point font, angry the cardboard green, and angry it into Banana Sans.” Again the appointment became aloof as accessible as it was for her classmates.
Sometimes bodies ask Jessica why she doesn’t activate in Banana Sans and again duke in her affidavit in Arial or Times New Roman.
“Have you anytime approved to architecture a accurate cardboard back you acquire to get aggregate lined up so specifically? You’ve got all of your legends that acquire to go beneath your figures. 12 credibility in Banana Sans is not 12 credibility in Arial is not 12 credibility in Times New Roman. You can absorb hours formatting your cardboard in Banana Sans and again about-face it into 12 point Arial and it will blend up everything.”
In addition, she cannot adapt in a chantry that’s difficult for her to read. “You cannot fix formatting errors you cannot see!” To her, allurement her to change to a chantry she cannot abundantly use “is the apotheosis of ableism.” Sometimes she can ask accession in her accomplice to advice her atom errors, but it’s a lot to ask. “I can and acquire had bodies in my chic attending over my work, but you charge to acquire that we’re not collaborators, they’re my peers. This is an assailment on their time.”
Asking her to change her chantry is allurement her to booty a assignment that is already actual difficult for accession with dyslexia and ambitious that she booty added accomplish to amuse the artful preferences of accession for whom account is easy.
“If you assignment with accession with dyslexia, maybe alike if you don’t apperceive if they’re dyslexic, if article is laid out well, if accession has gone through the time to anxiously architecture something, amuse acquire it in whatever color, whatever chantry bodies appetite to use. You never absolutely apperceive what is allowance someone. If it’s not affliction you, again aloof leave it alone.”
People after dyslexia charge affinity for those who charge concessions to administer the disability. “You acquire to anticipate about how massive this affair is for me, and you acquire to anticipate about how tiny the affair is for you.”
In summary, she says:
“Get the fuck over yourself.”
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