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Merely a Hurdle

A Thesis Project: MDes 2022
Research - Book Design - Exhibition Design
The Content

I wrote, designed, and produced my thesis publication. Through interviews, research and design exploration I sought to take the reader on my journey of understanding this learning disability. Starting with my research into the “disadvantages” and discovering along the way that there was so much more to dyslexia.

One in five people battle with some form of dyslexia. 


That means, 1 in 5 people:

      Take longer to process written words

      Feel they aren’t smart enough in school

      Avoid reading out loud

      Utilize a different portion of their brain to process language 


Dyslexia is the most common learning disability globally, impacting 20% of the population. So, if this disability impacts such a large percentage of people, why is it not being openly discussed? Why do millions of children and adults consider themselves dumb or incapable of succeeding because of their learning disability? Why are people afraid to have their children tested for dyslexia because they fear the stigma associated with a “disability”? In a culture that promotes inclusivity, why are we judging people for learning differently?


Merely a Hurdle: Understanding Dyslexia seeks to open the door for this conversation. It seeks to help de-stigmatize dyslexia, giving viewers and readers a chance to learn and ask questions. To understand that with all of the struggles dyslexia brings, comes an abundance of opportunities. 


“The Signs are Everywhere” brings viewers face to face with street signs they may pass every day. But as viewers look more closely, they will realize that none of the signs are spelled correctly. The installation simulates the processing time required by people with dyslexia to read even the most basic text.

My Photography

Within the publication are photos of Chicago street signs that have been manipulated to be more difficult to read. This connects to the exhibition and highlights the fact that dyslexia does not end when you leave the classroom or close the book.


The typeface I used throughout the entire publication was titled Dyslexie. This font was created by Cristopher Boer to make type easier to read for people with dyslexia. You

can learn more about Dyslexie the typeface here. 

Cover Design

I hand bound this publication, and to create a more dynamic texture I included embossed lettering behind the book cloth. Using all of the strengths of dyslexia as the type, they are hidden under the cover just like a dyslexic person’s strengths are usually hidden behind the stereotypical struggles of having a learning disability.

The Exhibition

We live in a text heavy world, and it is up to the people with dyslexia to figure out how to work with that. Utilizing three different descriptions of dyslexia, I manipulated the street signs to become barely legible: flipping letters such as b’s, p’s, m’s and w’s, moving letters around so they are no longer in the original position, and replacing words with other words that have similar word shape and length. The goal was not to make it impossible to read but to simulate the extra processing time that people with dyslexia need every time they read.

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