Inside dyslexia: the contextual knowledge and methodology of a practice-led research through typographic design and autoethnography


  • Isabelle Hutcheson Auckland University of Technology
  • Fiona Grieve Auckland University of Technology
  • David Coventon Auckland University of Technology



Autoethnography, Dyslexia, Graphic Design, Iterative drawing, Typography


There is increased interest in recent literature on the disfluency effect in an effort to contextualize the outcomes for typography research that is grounded in functional readability. Recently, a small group of typographic and legibility researchers have begun to call for more collaboration to generate knowledge that is useful and practical ( Thiessen, Beier & Keage, 2020). This article presents a practice-led design research project that utilises iterative drawing and typographic arrangements through an autoethnographic approach, to convey personal experience with dyslexia. The project reflects on the question: How can iterative drawing and typographic composition be used to graphically express one’s subjective dyslexic learning experience? As a secondary question that is particularly focused on practice, is how the project can contribute to provide insights to a non-dyslexic audience of the word comprehension and typographic disfluency facing people with dyslexic conditions. The research is informed by a range of contextual practice, practitioners, and literature, into the states and conditions of the dyslexic experience, the use of typographic adaption and Risograph printing. The project is grounded as a practice-led approach, where creative practice and research are complementary but distinctive. The research is based within the world of concern defined by practice while the practitioner researcher is at the centre of the research (Vear, 2022). To elicit a dyslexic perspective, the project employs autoethnography as a strategy for gathering and evidence interpretation through a critical illustration and typographic design process. The research contributes to current discourses to areas such as those related to the typographic principles of visual cuing and emphasis as well as other broader areas such as how we may be able to determine threshold for disfluency, and what impact graphical distractions have on the disfluency effect.


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Author Biographies

Isabelle Hutcheson , Auckland University of Technology

Estudante da Universidade de Tecnologia de Auckland que atualmente está concluindo seu mestrado em design. Sua investigação orientada pela prática está focada em desmistificar a condição de dislexia usando sua experiência pessoal. Com o objetivo de conscientizar e revelar as dificuldades do disléxico na leitura e reconhecimento de palavras.

Fiona Grieve, Auckland University of Technology

Fiona Grieve is Threaded’s creative director and editor, and Head of the Department of Communication Design at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand. She is an Academic Leader and Creative Director with 20+ years in educational management, research, and design consultancy.

David Coventon, Auckland University of Technology

A designer and educator with language and wordplay at the heart of his typo/graphic design practice, teaching and research. Constantly challenging conventional constraints, pondering (im)permanence, exploring the edges of errors, always seeking the most appropriate words and typo/graphic choices to enhance — or at times make elusive — communication.


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How to Cite

Hutcheson , I., Grieve, F., & Coventon, D. (2023). Inside dyslexia: the contextual knowledge and methodology of a practice-led research through typographic design and autoethnography. DAT Journal, 8(1), 370–415.