Innovation That Matters

Tactile comicbook opens the artform up to blind people

Publishing & Media

A new comic called Life uses Braille-style embossing to make it accessible to blind people.

The Braille writing language has opened up literature to partially sighted people since its invention in 1824, and we’ve even seen innovations that adapt the system to enable joint reading between blind and non-blind children. However, an entire artform — comics — is still inaccessible to those with visual impairment. In order to put this right, a new tactile comic called Life has been designed for blind people.

Created by interaction designer Philipp Meyer with the help of Nota — a library for the blind in Denmark — the short comic uses conventions from visual storytelling and contains four panels, indicated with embossed borders, on each page. In the story, two characters — one represented by an empty circle and another by a filled in circle — interact with each other until a third character — half empty and half filled using varying embossed heights — joins them. Readers can feel where each character is in space, and numbers in the corner of each panel give a better indication of the reading direction for those who have never experienced comics before.

The book is being printed for select libraries and schools for the blind, but is available to buy by contacting Meyer directly. Although Life is a simple narrative, it is the first example of a comic for blind people and its techniques could be developed to create a more complex story. In a world which is dominated by visual images, are there other ways to communicate non-verbal depictions to those without sight?

Spotted by Smith Alan, written by Springwise



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