Thursday, 4 January 2018

World Braille Day

2002: Centenary of Swiss Assn of the Blind and Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired
World Braille Day is an annual celebration of Louise Braille and his invention of a tactile written language for the blind which takes place on his  birthday - 4 January.  This Swiss FDC commemorates the Centenary of the Swiss National Assn of the Blind and Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  The designer Sandra Di Salvo's intention was for the stamp to have high sensory impact as a bold red square but more importantly that the braille reader's  touch would understand the denomination before a sighted person sees the number 70.  I'll use Swiss Post's augmented scan of the stamp below
but in reality the number is more subtle being only a slightly deeper red than the background and the braille raised dots are the first thing one sees.  Curious about how the braille number 70 is formed?  Well here are its three parts that make the whole -
The first country to issue a stamp with braille 'dots' was Brazil in 1974 for the 5th World Council for Welfare of the Blind held in Sao Paulo.  In the early 20th Century Switzerland was the first country to exempt the blind from paying postage.  These letters are now known as Cécogrammes.


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