Title: Tactile Graphic Production

Author: Patrick Van Geem


Computer-Generated Tactile Graphic Production

Tactile graphic production on a computer is similar to computer aided design (CAD). The concepts are the same in that it involves the use of shapes, lines, points, freeform drawings and Bezier curving to produce an illustration that can be translated into an embossed graphic. Other graphic design functions are also incorporated in the production of illustration for embossing. Some of these functions are: rotation, grouping, line weight, area filling, and labeling.

The process of designing tactile graphics involves the use of various drawing tools in scalable vector graphic (SVG) drawing applications. Some of the applications that offer vector drawing tools are: Adobe Illustrator, Microsoft Office (Word and PowerPoint), Corel Draw, and Inkscape (free open-source). Vector graphic production for the Tiger Embosser has to be completed on a Windows OS platform because drivers are exclusively developed for that platform. Vector graphics production for Encapsulated (swell) paper can be produced on either a Windows or a Mac OS.

Some of the handouts in the list below include step-by-step tutorials on the production of graphics that can be used in math, science, and social studies. One handout explains the labeling process of tactile graphics. Another handout talks about how to plan out a tactile graphic. The concept of objects used in tactile graphics is explained in another handout.

The Braille Authority of America (BANA) Guidelines for Tactile Graphic Production is cited throughout these handouts to further enhance the production of best practice tactile graphics for students with visual impairments. Included in the list of handouts is a PDF document summarizing the first seven chapters of the BANA Tactile Graphic Guidelines.