One-storey or two-storey ‘a’
An often-voiced hypothesis among designers is that a one-storey ‘a’ is less legible than a two-storey ‘a’. This assumption has been borne out by our research.

The findings demonstrated that at great reading distances and at short exposures in the peripheral visual field, a one-storey ‘a’ frequently results in misreading, where the ‘a’ is confused with the characters ‘o’ and ‘q’. We recommend against the one-storey ‘a’ when setting text for adult normal-vision readers.

For more see:
Beier, S. & Larson, K. (2010) ‘Design Improvements for Frequently Misrecognized Letters’, Information Design Journal, 18(2), 118-137.

Other research findings


Centre for Visibility Design
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts,
Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation
School of Design

Philip de Langes Allé 10

1435 København K

M +45 41 70 18 83
E sbe@kadk.dk
W kadk.dk