Brilliant New Typeface Combines Touchable Braille With Visible Letters

Braille Neue Typeface by Kosuke Takahashi

With an innovation that makes you wonder why no one thought of it earlier, Japanese designer Kosuke Takahashi has created a new typeface that allows everyone equal access to information, whether they can see or not. The 24-year-old just released his Braille Neue typefaces, where English and Japanese characters are overlaid with their braille equivalents. His hope is that this will motivate more braille to be included in public spaces, as its inclusion is now often limited due to space restrictions.

Derived from the popular Helvetica Neue font, Braille Neue comes in two styles—Braille Neue standard (English) and Braille Neue outline (English and Japanese). As most sighted people can't read braille, each font would allow an easier cross flow of information between the sighted and the blind. Takahashi even points out that by kerning Braille Neue outline, existing text could be overlaid in public spaces to make them more accessible to everyone. In fact, Takahashi is hoping it will become a standard during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

How did he come up with the idea? Each morning before work, the young designer brainstorms ideas for 30 minutes and puts them in a notebook. Braille Neue originated from a simple question he asked himself—'Why can I not read braille?' He then prototyped his idea and started collecting feedback both from sighted readers and the visually impaired. Taking on this feedback, he's been refining the typeface and will continue to make improvements in its legibility and usability.

Braille Neue is a universal typeface that merges existing characters and braille in a way that makes text accessible to everyone.

Braille Neue Typeface by Kosuke Takahashi

Braille Neue outline can be used for both the Latin alphabet and Japanese characters.

Braille Neue Typeface by Kosuke Takahashi Braille Neue Typeface by Kosuke Takahashi

Braille Neue can overlay text in public spaces, transforming it into something that can be read universally.

Takahashi is still experimenting with cost-effective printing and is refining the font prior to final release.

Braille Neue Typeface by Kosuke Takahashi

Braille Neue Typeface by Kosuke Takahashi

Kosuke Takahashi: Website | Twitter
Braille Neue: Website | Twitter
h/t: [designboom]

All images via Kosuke Takahashi.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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