Miguel Neiva

Ashoka Fellow
Porto, Portugal
Fellow Since 2012


This profile was prepared when Miguel Neiva was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.
The New Idea
Miguel has created a new code that enables communication between all people, regardless of their color vision status. Based on the cognitive process of color assimilation, Miguel’s code transcends current solutions that are too narrowly tailored to specific situations or are very expensive (i.e. corrective lenses). ColorADD can be widely adopted and applied. It overcomes discrimination, builds awareness, and offers a specific tool that develops empathy around a long neglected condition.

More than 90 percent of today’s communication relies on visual and graphic aids, yet 10 percent of males and, 5 percent of women cannot distinguish between colors. Miguel has created a code for color blindness designed with multiple applications—from transportation maps in subways or airports, process-related information in hospitals, and even commercial solutions in the fashion or clothing industries. As an augmentative tool, the code substitutes the role of color in communication by assigning simple symbols to primary colors (blue, red, yellow, black, and white) and creating basic rules to represent the different combinations of non-primary colors. Given that color blind perceive the different shades of a given color (similar to a grey scale), the code provides a simple indication of what colors they see. This universal and inclusive language is comparable to braille or sign language, but for the color blind.

Guided by the motto “Colors for All,” ColorADD combines the efficiency of a simple, attractive and scalable method for raising awareness around color blindness with a dynamic process of implementation that assimilates the users’ inputs and needs. To guarantee an effective adoption of the code and allow it to become a mainstream language, the implementation of the code has been developed and piloted with different methodologies and tailored to different industry or sector standards.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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