There are thousands of them in the city; stuck to street signs and hidden inside elevators. Small signs that are vital for part of our population, but go unnoticed by most.
Braille messages are featured on all street signs in the CBD, at bus stops and on a selection of maps, park signs and public art, providing directions and accessibility for the visually impaired.
Usually small and placed just below the visual signs, the Braille messages carry a range of advertisements, from simple road directions to the numbers on elevator buttons.
Signs are typically regulated by braille organizations, but a “braille bombing event” held as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week showed people how to make their own signs to add to the city’s collection.
Participants learned to braille their own name before making labels to mimic the signs printed around the Melbourne Knowledge Week event, such as the names of exhibits and groups featured.
They were also given pre-made braille to take with them, offering positive messages for people with visual impairments, such as: “I love braille”, “I love reading”, “Braille since 1829” and “Keep reading”.
Signs are written using pens and slates. Letters are written backwards and read from right to left.
“It’s like writing a tweet, counting all your characters, but doing it backwards and in the mirror,” said Amanda Kwong, a participant in the braille bombing. “It’s been a brain challenge, but a really eye-opening experience.”