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Brief Published: 16 Apr 2018

Push for Inclusive Typography

LR: Kosuke Takahashi, Apple

Brands and designers are increasingly catering to consumers of mixed abilities, creating targeted products that both appeal and empower (see Design for Disability). We look at two graphic design projects that demonstrate this surge in inclusive design by encouraging everyone to understand, engage and express themselves.

Japanese designer Kosuke Takahashi’s typeface Braille Neue aligns Japanese and English characters with the braille alphabet, allowing for information in public spaces to be accessible to people with full and limited vision.

The typeface is simplistic and angular, resembling a dot-to-dot drawing, whereby braille impressions act as markers that guide the form of each letter while adhering to classic character shapes. Braille Neue’s continuity with standard characters allows for the typeface to be easily implemented into existing signage. Takahashi aims for the typeface to be adopted at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Similarly, in March this year, Apple created a series of 13 new emoji characters that represent people with mixed abilities – depicting wheelchairs, guide dogs and hearing aids.

The graphics have been submitted to the Unicode Consortium, a US non-profit organisation that develops text standards and chooses which emoji are added into messaging vocabulary. With an average of 60 million emoji used on Facebook and five billion on Messenger in any given day, the mass adoption of these images encourage greater public acceptance and offer candid ways to express individual experiences.

Read Packaging Futures: Diversity for how sensorial design is creating brand experiences that translate across consumers of mixed ability. Also, read Cooper Hewitt’s Accessible Design showcase for the latest innovations in disability product.