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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

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Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/andika

Andika

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'Very good font for kids learning to read/write. Most glyphs are similar to hand-written letters (a, g, t, etc.)'


Introduction

Andika is a sans serif, Unicode-compliant font designed especially for literacy use, taking into account the needs of beginning readers. The focus is on clear, easy-to-perceive letterforms that will not be readily confused with one another.

A sans serif font is preferred by some literacy personnel for teaching people to read. Its forms are simpler and less cluttered than those of most serif fonts. For years, literacy workers have had to make do with fonts that were not really suitable for beginning readers and writers. In some cases, literacy specialists have had to tediously assemble letters from a variety of fonts in order to get all of the characters they need for their particular language project, resulting in confusing and unattractive publications. Andika addresses those issues.

One font from this typeface family is included in this release:

  • Andika Regular

A future release will include Italic, Bold and Bold-Italic.

Andika now has the same character coverage as Doulos SIL and Charis SIL.

What are the benefits of using Andika?

Clear, simply designed letters. This facilitates letter recognition, a skill second only to distinguishing sounds in learning to read. Some fonts have letters that look like mirror images of each other, which for a new reader can be confusing. Andika gives those similar letters distinct characteristics to reduce confusion. The differences are so small that most people would not notice them, but those small differences give the brain a little help. We also applied these differentiation techniques throughout all of the hundreds and thousands of glyphs in the font, so that even those writing systems that use rare symbols can benefit.
Some of the things requested by SIL literacy specialists over the years are addressed in Andika:

  • sans serif design (no "little feet" on the letters)
  • lower case 'a' and 'g' more like handwriting (also known as "one-storey" shapes)
  • capital i, lower case l, and numeral 1 that don't look alike
  • lower case r which, when followed by n, doesn't look like m
  • diacritics (accent marks) that are big enough to recognize, and which position themselves properly
  • letter shapes to fit local preferences. Some parts of the world use a y with no curved tail, for example, or a 7 with a crossbar. These are just two of the optional letter shapes available

Extensive character coverage. Andika has over 4,700 glyphs, providing support for more than 2,100 characters in the Latin and Cyrillic scripts. This means it's suitable for literally hundreds of languages around the world.


What others are saying:

  • “...easy on the eye.”
  • “...not clinical and sterile...a friendlier font.”
  • “As I am teacher, the font Andika helps me to print highly readable documents for my students suffering dyslexia.”
  • “I have searched for some of these characters. Thank you.”
  • “Thank you very much for your excellent work.”
  • “Thank you for this update, which will be very useful for our literacy materials.”
  • “It is such a good font for our [literacy] purposes!”
  • “Andika looks great; I look forward to exploring use of it in literacy research.”
  • “I plan to use this to create signs/posters in my emerging literacy ESL [English as a Second Language] classroom for adults.”
  • “for basic literacy adult second-language learners”
  • “to work with dyslectic children”
  • “One of the best fonts I ever used!! Keep up the good work, looking forward to it.”
  • “For teaching, light dyslexia of some pupils”
  • “Superbe ... Merci!”
  • “Your font is the the best I've seen in more than 30 years of experience just after Helvetica, congrats”.
  • “I love this font and use it with all my at-risk kindergarten students.”
  • “In our literacy and education consultant work it will be of great value to be able to use the special character alternatives for languages used in early literacy acquisition for mother tongue-based mutilingual education programs.”
  • “It's for an ESL pronunciation class”

Letter designs now set

After receiving many insightful comments on the Andika Design Review and Basic fonts, we have refined Andika's final letterforms, with alternate shapes still available for some characters.




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