Language is not an invention. As best we can tell it is an evolved feature of the human brain. There have been almost countless languages humans have spoken. But they all follow certain rules that grow out of the wiring of the human brain and human cognition. Critically, it is something that is hardwired into us. Writing is an altogether different and artificial thing.
I love this idea (and implementation)—instead of treating braille signage as something “separate but equal”, this typeface attempts to unify lettering and braille into one.
Braille Neue is a universal typeface that combines braille with existing characters. This typeface communicates to both the sighted and blind people in the same space.
Neither matters all that much and you can use every method on the same project without the universe imploding.
Some interesting approaches in the comments too.
A fascinating thought experiment from Ted Chiang:
So let’s imagine a world in which Chinese characters were never invented in the first place. Given such a void, the alphabet might have spread east from India in a way that it couldn’t in our history, but, to keep this from being an Indo-Eurocentric thought experiment, let’s suppose that the ancient Chinese invented their own phonetic system of writing, something like the modern Bopomofo, some thirty-two hundred years ago. What might the consequences be?
Twenty-six letters of independent publishing building blocks.
The alphabet illustrated with CSS.
Take all the fonts on your operating system, superimpose them, and whaddya get? This.
A wonderful history of our alphabet. Set aside some time to read this.
Kanji characters that transform into the animal they represent.
A nice explanation of the ruby element in HTML5: very handy for marking up phonetic pronunciation.
Could it be that the inability of 8-bit computers to render Kanji had a direct influence on the direction of Japan's electronic product design and economy?