Braille has been around since its invention in 1824 by Louis Braille, a blind French 15-year-old. M. Braille also invented a musical notation for the blind. But cartoons have remained inaccessible for the blind. Now, design student Philip Meyer hopes to change that with special comics created for the blind.
He calls the project “Life: a semi tactile comic for the blind.” Meyer writes:
After many failed attempts I finally experimented with storytelling through simple shapes and forms. With and without text. I wanted to see how graphically simplified a story can be, without losing meaning. I wanted to use comic techniques, the users imagination and let the medium do the work.
My goal was to create a story that is equally explorable for people with and without eyesight.
The project’s story follows the life of three people, represented by dots. A dot is born, grows up and meets another dot. They have a baby dot, who grows up, and eventually leaves the dot home. Finally, one of the dots disappears, and the other slowly fades away.
It’s a simple and universal story, but the methods behind it are complex. Humans Invent explains:
Meyer used the same embossed method as Braille to allow a blind person to feel the symbols. To keep it as simple as possible only circles were used, with each one representing a character in the story. Each circle varies in height and size – for example, the height of the first circle gets lower towards the centre to distinguish it from the others. Each panel’s frame is perforated so blind people are able to distinguish between each scene.
Meyer says this project was an experiment for him and likely represents the end of his comic-creating, but he hopes it will inspire others to explore the possibilities of tactile story telling for the blind.
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