We've previously featured innovative ways in which designers are addressing the blind with Braille-inspired design. This direction of creativity was validated at the National Design Awards gala last week, when designer Leslie Ligon received the People's Design Award for her brilliant Braille alphabet bracelet.
Though it may seem to be merely a beautifully designed piece of jewelry at first glance, the bracelet actually addresses a significant issue far deeper than aesthetics: Braille literacy. Only about 10% of blind people able to read the Braille alphabet and 70% are unemployed, but of those employed, 95% can read Braille, which makes Braille literacy an essential life skill greatly enhancing opportunities and quality of life for the blind.
The bracelet is made out of silver tiles, each of which has a Latin letter on one side and the Braille equivalent on the other, which makes it a particularly useful learning tool for the large population of blind people who were once sighted – and thus able to read the Latin alphabet – but developed blindness later in life.
A percentage of profits for the sale of Ligon's Braille jewelry goes to organizations supporting Braille literacy.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.