New platform aims to bring dyslexic talent into ad industry

Leo: platform is customisable to a user's needs
Leo: platform is customisable to a user's needs

Free reading platform Leo makes a creative education more accessible to students with dyslexia.

A group of advertising professionals have launched an educational platform aimed at bringing more dyslexic and neurodivergent talent into the creative industries.

Leo is a free-to-use eReader that allows students with dyslexia to access course material in a way that best suits their needs. Users can personalise how they consume the content, which is available as text, audio or video and has customisable features for each format. 

The first book available on Leo is How to Do Better Creative Work by Steve Harrison – one of the leading books for advertising creatives. Each chapter is read aloud on the platform by a creative leader, such as Aidan McClure, founding partner and chief creative officer of Wonderhood Studios; Stu Outhwaite-Noel, chief creative officer of Creature; Ollie Olanipekun, founder and creative director of Futurimpose; and Rosie Arnold, former creative partner and head of art at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

Two more books authored by leading advertising creatives will be added to Leo later this year and the platform aims to continue expanding with more educational materials for students. 

Leo was created by James Hillhouse, co-founder of Commercial Break, an organisation that aims to bring young people from diverse backgrounds into advertising; Kat Pegler, a former graduate of Commercial Break; and Alex Fleming, senior manager of creative client solutions at ITV Creative.

The trio worked with UX designer Evert Martin, who has dyslexia, and consulted university students and dyslexia experts. 

The team behind Leo wanted to create a resource that would remove one of the barriers to entry to the ad industry for dyslexic talent, many of whom might find it difficult to access traditional educational materials that are largely text based. 

Acas defines dyslexia as “a language processing difficulty that can cause problems with aspects of reading, writing and spelling”. An estimated 10% of people in the UK have dyslexia.

Pegler said: “Leo is on a mission to make the future of education more accessible for students with dyslexia. Today is just the first step towards this goal – we now need the help of authors, publishers, brands, and potential funders to join the cause and back the platform. It's an absolute no brainer that we should be doing more to help get people with dyslexia into the industry. By making Leo free and available to all, we're hopefully making that a little bit easier.”

Campaign further explores Leo and the importance of making the ad industry more accessible to neurodivergent talent in an upcoming feature, to be published in its February issue.

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