There is just a few weeks left of my final year at University and my focus is on my Disability project.

The project is a designed and illustrated story book for blind children. The reason you might ask? Well, sighted children have the ability to extend their imagination through sight,  memories, and using image references. But the majoirty of blind children(if born blind) have no perception of light and with that no image references.

Thus the point of this book is to extend the experience of a story or book for blind children, creating new experiences, new thoughts and references that are  not based on gimmicky tricks such as fur and fabric.

I have chosen the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, why? Because after visiting a few blind adults at cohearant vision in Headingley Leeds (which is due to shut down in June – But that is another story), I was inspired by some of the comments made by individuals about certain books, experiences and textures. The excitement  became about sounds and smells and so this set me off on a journey to create a real multidimensional and multi-sensual experience for blind children.

This project has had many strengths, but there have been obstacles to overcome, for instance, convincing other designers that blind people deserve to be designed for was a breathtaking experience for me and has driven this project right from the start. Sourcing the paper, binding materials, finding the right techniques to produce such a book as a one off or as a commercial project, realising the time constraints and developing a sense of double message towards blind people and children, as well as targeting designers to think more about the way in which they look at design and the act of designing.

The book has about 25 pages and within that about half is braille and half is illustration. I am very excited at the prospect of the finished book, as I have worked very hard to get this project to a point where it has an established design, structure and commercial standing.

The project hand in is the 13th May 2011, more about the project development and finishings soon.