Color is a vital part of communication, and for the 285 million visually impaired people in the world, that presents a challenge. But a Portuguese designer has invented a Braille-like language that could help those very people “see” colors by touching raised shapes affixed to objects.

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It’s called the Feelipa Color Code, developed by product designer Filipa Nogueira Pires. The system is based on research in conjunction with the University of Lisbon and the Helen Keller Center.

Here’s how the code works: Square means red. Triangle means yellow. Circle means blue. Three raised bars mean black, two mean gray, one means white. Mix those primary-colored shapes together to get more colors: For example, a fused square and triangle signals orange. Add raised bars to the shape’s surface to represent how brilliant the hue is. This helps people understand the color of the objects around them.

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The shapes can come as embossed stickers, which could be slapped on maps, toys or medicine containers. Pires also want to introduce the system in schools, hopefully one day making color a true universal language.

[Feelipa via Designtaxi]