Tactile graphic design book and learning material

The design of a tactile reading book, ‘Pam de inkt vis’, and teaching material for young blind and visually impaired children. Unlike their sighted peers, blind children use touch as an important way to obtain information. This book is one in a series and was developed in collaboration with teachers from the Dutch organization Koninklijke Visio, as part of a project, ‘Reading Pleasure’. The inclusive design integrates large type and braille, tactile illustrations and matching 3D objects for in a positive reading experience.

Double spread with the story in braille and large print on the left and a tactile illustration on the right.

The book is about a fantasy octopus Pam, who has various adventures with her friends in the sea. The concept was conceived by one of the teachers, Marianne van der Vinne (TVI), who wrote the seemingly simple story in rhyme form. In a playful way, children can gain rich tactile-spatial experiences, which are important for learning to read braille. They also learn about the relationship between 3D objects and their 2D representation. The design challenges mainly involved translating the educational criteria into optimal tactile forms. During this process, we tested all functionality with the children using tactile prototypes. The story is printed on Lessebo and Pop Set, and the illustrations and objects are made of characteristic tactile materials. A variety of printing and graphic techniques were used for production.

The different tactile instruction cards, stacked per type on a table.

Functional design of tactile instruction cards, aimed at making concepts from the book more tangible. Children can use the cards to practise certain skills: learning the first braille letters and words, ordering, counting, memory game, etc.

Detail printed cover with tactile illustration and title in braille.

Children are stimulated by the colourful, tactile illustrated cover with the title in braille. The cover has been printed directly onto hardboard using elevated printing (2.5D).

A child proof reads the braille letters on a prototype for an assignment card.

Testing a prototype with braille letters placed between raised lines with the aim of promoting a correct reading technique: gliding finger motion, left to right, with all fingers in a row.