How did you approach your project?
Since it is a very special field indeed, it was obvious that I would need help from an expert. I contacted the Primary School for the Blind where I got to know the teacher of the blind primary school students. During my visits to the school, she gave me some advice and shared her background knowledge with me. In addition I did a considerable amount of research in the topic, and I also wrote my thesis on tactile writing systems.
In which way was it different to design for somebody who cannot see?
In my previous works visual communication and designing visual content took centre stage. Consequently, adjusting to the new situation posed an enormous challenge. As blind people navigate the world with the help of hearing and touching things, one of their main sensors are their fingers. Thus, the question arises: Can a graphic designer even achieve an impact in such a situation?
Looking back at the design process, I had to apply those very tools of visual communication which I would be in need of when designing a logo, only I had to optimize them for touching. To a certain degree, I had to put aside my pursuit of beauty, for the primary considerations in this instance were vastly different from those of a usual graphic assignment.
What was the biggest challenge of this project?
I started out by designing an experimental ABC booklet, which included tactile content too. The objective was to create a tool that could facilitate the process of learning Braille characters for children. I wanted to assign a different material, that is a material which feels different when touched, to every single letter, however, due to the fragility of the materials I had to choose another way. A technique that could be used in the long run. That is why I opted for 3D printing.
As you would usually find it in an ABC booklet, I assigned various concepts to the letters of the ABC. I used concepts which mean the same thing to a blind child too, and are easily accessible. I also received help from the school, as to what kind of concepts I should put on the disks and where the children’s limits are in terms of processing through the somatosensory system. Therefore, I tried to pick words that possess a strong and unique characteristic with regard to their shapes, even when stylised.