Clear Print Accessibility Guidelines

In an effort to promote a more accessible world, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) has developed guidelines to help make printed materials accessible to people with visual impairments:

  • Contrast: Use high-contract colours, using dark text on a light background or white or yellow text on a dark background.
  • Type colour: The most readable text is black and white. If you use colour, limit it to short elements of text, for example, headings.
  • Point size: The bigger the text, the better. Ideally, text should never be less than 12 points, but up to 18 points is even better.
  • Leading: Leading refers to the amount of space between lines of text. To be more easily readable, leading should be at least 25 to 30% of the point size.
  •  Font family and font style: Avoid fancy fonts. Aim for fonts with a medium heaviness. When altering a font for emphasis, using bold or a heavy font makes the text more readable than using italics or all caps.
  •  Letter spacing: Another consideration is how wide the spacing is between letters. Avoid fonts that are proportionally spaced, as some letters will be very close together.
  • Margins and columns: Placing text into columns makes it easier to read, as it requires less eye movement and less peripheral vision. For the same reason, wider margins are helpful. Flat pages also make it easier for someone using a magnifier to read.
  • Paper finish: When printing, use paper that is of a matte finish as it causes less glare than paper with a glossy finish. Also avoid complicated backgrounds or watermarks, which are distracting.
  • Clean designs: Aim for clean designs and simplicity. Sharp colour and distinct shapes are easier to see.

For more information about CNIB’s clear print accessibility guidelines, click here