Majority of UK print marketing ignores accessibility issues


More than half of print marketing materials produced by UK businesses are not designed with common accessibility issues in mind, new research has found.

The survey, which was carried out by Southend-on-Sea-based printer Solopress in support of Dyslexia Awareness Week, found that more than 600 businesses who rely on print marketing may use fonts, layouts, and colours that are harder to read for the estimated 21 million Brits who experience dyslexia, colour blindness, significant visual impairments, dementia or poor basic literacy.

62% of print marketing managers admitted that they do not consider accessibility issues when approving designs for print. This is despite more than two thirds (70%) of businesses that do create accessible designs saying that they spent less than £100 in doing so.

When asked why they were not catering for accessibility issues, nearly half (46%) of businesses said they just didn’t think about it. Another 42% said that they did not feel these issues affected a large section of their customer base.

The companies that did design more accessible materials (44%) had a wide range of reasons for doing so: from wanting materials to be “as accessible as possible”, to having family, friends, or a target audience affected by accessibility issues, to wanting to be seen as a forward-thinking company.

Solopress managing director Simon Cooper said: “While it’s encouraging to see that nearly half of UK businesses do think about accessibility before going to print, it’s clear that more education is needed to highlight the issue.

“With just a little extra effort and expense, there are some simple ways to make your material more accessible to millions of potential customers.”

Solopress has developed a series of design templates that have been awarded ‘assured’ status by the British Dyslexia Association. These provide guidance on how to make flyers, posters, and business cards as accessible as possible and can be found on the Solopress website.

British Dyslexia Association chief executive Helen Boden added that with around one in 10 people in the UK suffering from dyslexia alone, designing with accessibility issues in mind is “key” and “good business sense”.

“The simple and clear approach we recommend, makes designs easier to read for everyone and is straightforward and cost-effective; being dyslexia friendly is good all-round,” she said.

“This research shows many marketers are considering accessibility when designing, which is great. But clearly there is a long way to go. We hope this helps those not factoring in dyslexia to see how easy it is to do and the benefits it brings.”

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