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Design for Life: The winner

by Ian Cook

15th May 2003

The winner of the design challenge was billed as a "revolutionary" smart clothing tag system for blind and partially sighted people. Called simply "C", the system was designed by London company Coley Porter Bell.
According to the designers, the "C" system allows blind people to make "informed, independent choices about colour, shade and style." Although primarily designed to tell you the colour of clothes, it can also be used for other products where colour is important, such as furniture or plates.

The colour of an item is represented by a particular shape embossed onto the swing tag, where you normally find the price. For example, a blue garment has a square embossed on the tag. Other 'core' colours - red, green and yellow - have different signature shapes.

The "C" system can also give information about the particular shade of a colour. Talking again of blue - a square - midnight blue is represented by the whole square being embossed. A very light blue, such as baby blue, has only a quarter of the square embossed. The same principle applies to other colour shapes. The "C" system also tells you whether the item is patterned via a ribbed effect embossed on the shape. The designers say there is the potential to carry other information - such as size.

Finally, so you can tell the colour of your shirt or jumper when you've cut out the tag, an embossed label can be sewn inside the garment with the colour's shape embossed on it.


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