In an attempt to make braille more familiar and accessible, Tokyo-based designer Kosuke Takahashi has redesigned the tactile script to make it readable for both visually impaired and sighted individuals. His new typeface, Braille Neue, updates the nearly 200 century-old system by superimposing its raised dots onto carefully configured letterforms, allowing it to be understood by both sight and touch. Takahashi has created two versions, Braille Neue Standard, which incorporates the Latin alphabet, and Braille Neue Outline, which can fit both Japanese and Latin writing systems.
“It all started from the simple questions, ‘How can I read braille? Does it become a character if I connect the dots?’” Takahashi told Hyperallergic. “Even though it is the same ‘character,’ it felt incongruous that sighted people could not read it.”
Takahashi has been working on a braille-based typeface since September 2016, and was inspired after he visited an ophthalmology clinic in Japan. There, he observed how quickly people were reading braille and was amazed at the speed.
Making a typeface that negotiates English and Japanese characters with the braille grid was no easy feat, and Takahashi worked with a friend who uses braille to develop many prototypes. The final typeface presents a series of letters that are blocky, yet immediately readable to the eye and faithful to the arrangement of braille dots.
Braille Neue is not the first typeface attempting to improve how society engages with braille. After sharing this project with the public, Takahashi connected with many other designers who have also tried to combine braille with existing characters. Media designer Sean Donahue, for instance, has experimented with tactile typefaces in his publication, Touch Magazine, while the “Visual Braille” project by Christopher Heller, Michael Ruß, and Theo Seemann presents a standard braille font that combines lowercase letters in braille and uppercase letters for visual reading. Takahashi has been compiling these related projects on his website.
“Through the contribution of increasing the variation of typeface that combine braille with existing characters, I believe we can create an inclusive society where using braille becomes commonplace,” Takahashi told Hyperallergic.
He believes his main contribution to such a society will be his creation of a Japanese typeset. As his city plans to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, Takahashi is hoping to connect with the Olympic Committee to implement Braille Neue Outline into the event’s signage. Existing designs, he said, can be altered by simple adjustments of the kerning — and are small steps to take towards an inclusive future.
“Currently, we rarely see braille implemented in the public space since it takes up additional space and sighted people consider it not important,” he said. “By spreading this typeset I believe more people will get acquainted with braille.”
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.
The Women Artists Commemorated on an NYC Sidewalk
The signatures of Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, and six other historical women artists are engraved on a small stretch of sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Met Museum Repatriates 15 Objects to India
The sculptures were all at one point sold by the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Placed on Russian “Wanted” List
Tolokonnikova has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s regime.
This is wonderful. A simple solution to several teaching issues.
Comments are closed.