The elementary unit of letter construction is the basic anatomical features of letterforms. The letter identification is a process of decoding and encoding of the anatomical information of the letters. They are the fundamental components of letter identification. This paper explains the process of Bengali letter identification and reveals the crucial anatomical features for design purposes. Here, an eye-tracking study has been conducted to identify the involvement of letter features in reading. In order to reveal the letter features, we exposed the letters under low contrast conditions to establish the consequence of anatomical features. The objective of the experiment is to identify the important letters features during the reading process that aids the letter identification task. A total number of six participants had performed the task under low contrast condition, and data was captured using an eye-tracking device. The aim of the paper is to understand the role of anatomical features in the letter identification process, so that such information can be useful for the Type designers. Type designers are designers who design typefaces and develop fonts for everyday use. The saccades, fixation, and heat-signature data from eye-tracking study have provided two major sets of information—(1) a list of letter features (individually) involved in the letter identification process, (2) a list of common and unique letter features across all Bengali letters. The result indicates that there is an active involvement of letter-parts and features in the letter identification process, and the list of common and distinctive letter features has been prepared to guide the type designers. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.