Tactile Graphics Resources
Tactile graphics represent a variety of illustrations, diagrams or graphs that contain information conveyed in non-textual formats. The resources listed below will be useful to new braille transcribers as well as more experienced transcribing as reference material.
Sources for Tactile Graphics
One of the most common questions related to the production of tactile graphics is around the availability of existing files that can be re-used or re-purposed. This enables the transcriber to more efficiently transcribe texts with tactile graphics, especially when the visual content requires a more generic image or diagram (e.g., a microscope, an incandescent lightbulb). Listed below are databases and repositories of tactile graphic files that are free to access and download:
APH Tactile Graphics Image Library (TGIL)
The Tactile Graphics Image Library (TGIL) from the American Printing House for the Blind is a freely accessible repository of tactile graphics files. The creation of a user account is required. Files type is predominantly PDF, with other image files and 3D model files (.STL) also included.
Tactile Graphics Library from Perkins School
The Perkins School for the Blind has made a number of files available on their website. Recommend using the Control+F function to search the page for keywords associated with the tactile graphic in question.
Tactile Library from ZyChem
The Tactile Library is maintained by ZyChem, the company behind SwellTouch paper for creating tactile graphics. The repository is organized first by age range and then by curricular area (e.g., age 0-4 years, animals).
ImageShare from Benetech
ImageShare is a database of accessible image files for STEM content areas. While not specific to tactile graphic files, braille transcribers and TSVIs may find content that can be easily transcribed into a tactile graphic or located a file for 3D printing.
Thingyverse is an online community where designers can upload and share 3D printing files. This is not specific to braille transcription or tactile graphics. However, transcribers may find models that would compliment students' learning materials. For example, this cross-section model of the Earth's crust with braille labels.
APH Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books
Developed by Suzette Wright, an Educational Researcher with APH, this 35-page illustrated guide offers a wealth of information to everyone embarking on making a tactile book.
- Purpose of the Guide
- Role of Illustrations in Children's Books
- When a Child Has a Visual Impairment
- Role of Tactile Illustrations in Children's Books
- Types of Tactile Illustrations, Challenges and Limitations of Tactile Illustrations
- Principles of Good Tactile Design
- Designing a Meaningful Tactile Illustration
APH Guide to Designing Tactile Illustrations for Children's Books (PDF)
Braille Authority of North America (BANA) Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics, 2010
The Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics provide guidance to braille transcribers in creating high-quality tactile graphics.
Publication Note: Hardcopy print and braille editions, along with the supplement of tactile graphic examples, are being produced for sale by the American Printing House for the Blind.
Braille Authority of North America (BANA) Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics (PDF)