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Artist Creates A Comic Book For The Blind
June 8, 2013
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(Image: Phillip Meyer)

The comic book is a visual medium by definition. But Philipp Meyer, a design student at the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany, didn't let that hold him back when he decided to create a comic book aimed at blind people.

His book tells a visual story that is clear enough that it can be understood and appreciated as easily by the blind as by the sighted.

What he created is certainly simple: it's called 'Life', and it is made up of nothing but circles.

But as well as being straightforward, the book is also profound. 'Life' tells the story of a being's entire existence, from birth to death.

The story is universal: a tiny circle appears, grows up, and meets another circle. They become close, and then procreate, and their offspring grows up, and eventually moves away.

Time passes, and the circle's partner passes away. And then, the slow fade into nothingness.

Powerful - and kind of heartbreaking - stuff.

Here's the version of the book for sighted people.

(Image: Phillip Meyer)

To start with, Meyer sent his design for the book around to his sighted friends to see if they could understand the story.

When they said they understood the story, Meyer started working on a version that used raised textures to tell the story for blind readers. He collaborated with Danish reading-assistance institute Nota on the project.

His first reader, Michael, grasped the tale immediately. But others had more trouble, so Meyer refined the textures of his circles to make it more clear.

In the sighted version, colours are used to differentiate between the circles. For blind readers, texture is used instead: one circle is just a ring, while the other is less defined toward the centre, creating a softer feel.

The "child" is a mixture of the two textures, marking it as the product of a union between them.

(Image: Phillip Meyer)

Meyer says on his 'Life' website that the project "was definitely the most challenging I ever did - yet the most rewarding as well."

He admits that this may not be the perfect way of representing a comic book experience for blind readers, but that he was inspired by speaking with his first reader Michael, and receiving feedback from other blind readers.

"I will never forget the day when Michael read the tactile comic for the first time, experiencing a medium that did not exist in this form before," Meyer writes. "On that day I realized that it is possible to tell a story - without ink, text or sound - that comes to life through imagination."



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