Clever Font Adds Braille To Signs

A Japanese designer has created a typeface that allows written characters and Braille to appear in the same space to save space. Kosuke Takahasi hopes it will be adopted for signage when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2020.

The idea is to get around the problem of a lack of space deterring people and facilities from offering Braille signs underneath or beside traditional printed lettering.

Takahashi has created Braille Neue, which adjusts the English alphabet characters such that they also contain overlaid dots for the matching Braille character that would be embossed so that blind people can read them. He says he’s carried out tests that found Braille readers can still distinguish the letters even if the dots and characters are on signs much larger than is usual for Braille.

While the concept is simple, the typeface took a fair bit of work to bring the two systems together. That’s because each existing character had to be adjusted to make sure it reached to the appropriate combination of positions for the six possible dots used in Braille while keeping the shape of the letter distinctive for English alphabet users. In the current design, only capital letters are used.

Perhaps even more impressively, Takahashi has also made a version of the typeface that covers katakana, the Japanese ‘alphabet’ where each symbol corresponds to a specific syllable sound. (That’s in contrast to kanji, where thousands of specific symbols each convey a specific word or concept.)

[Via: The Next Web]