The main goal of design is to communicate information and ideas. As designers we want messages to be clear and understandable. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when you are creating print material that will be distributed to an audience with differences in abilities.
Go for high contrast. The best solution is dark text on a white background. For pictures, try to choose those with high contrast between colors or if it’s a grayscale image, make sure there is a wide range of variation among the grays.
Black and white are usually the best choices here. Using colored text on colored backgrounds can be harder to read because to some people it’s hard to distinguish a difference in the colors. For example it can be hard for some people to tell red and green things apart.
An increase in font size will help—but it’s not the only consideration. Keep in mind point sizes vary among the different typefaces. 14 point Bodoni is smaller than 14 point Arial. In general a size between 14-18 should work.
Stick with standard, tried and true, recognizable fonts. Some of the classics are Garamond and Times for serif and Helvetica and Gill Sans for sans serif. Use upper and lowercase (never use ALL CAPS for large areas of content). Stay away from using condensed or italic fonts.
Pay attention to areas between the lines of text (called leading) and between the actual letters themselves (called kerning). Most fonts have an auto setting based on a proportion of the font size that will likely work, but you can go in and adjust this if it doesn’t. The larger the font size, the larger the leading and kerning will be.
Bonus tip: PAPER
Think about the final product. Using matte or uncoated paper is preferable—glossy paper can have a glare that makes it harder to read.
These are guidelines to help you when designing for print materials with accessibility in mind. Of course, the more you know your intended audience, the better you can design effectively with their needs in mind.
For websites, read this post: 5 tips to make your website more accessible