Creating a tactile graphic with braille should not be so challenging! In the previous post, Creating Digital Images Part 2: 3 Braille Tips, we learned how to download the free Swell Braille (also known as the Duxbury braille font or simulation braille/Sim Braille) to your computer. This free font was designed specifically for tactile graphics machines such as the Swell and PIAF. I personally find it super easy to use a touch screen device, such as an iPad, to trace a graphic from a mainstream worksheet. . . but the work flow became chunky because the braille font was not available for iOS . . . or so I thought!
I learned that there is a free app that enables you to import any font on your iOS device. . . and not only can you install the Swell Braille font, you can import the Swell Braille font directly into the GoodNotes app! Now, I have a simple work flow when creating my graphic – complete with Braille – all within the GoodNote app!
Duxbury created a free braille font specifically for digitally-created tactile graphics designed for a tactile graphic machine. This font is called Swell-Braille by duxbury and it is the font available on the TSBVI website. To install on a computer (PC or Mac) simply click on TSBVI’s link and follow the installation prompts.
To install the Swell-Braille font on iOS, you must go through a font installation app, such as the free iFont app.
[Screenshot image of iFont app after selecting “Open in GoodNotes”.]
[Screenshot of Settings app with with an annotated arrow pointing to Profile Download in the left column. A popup of Install Profile of Swell Braille Regular with an annotated arrow pointing to the Install button in the top right corner of the popup.]
Note: Typically the Swell Braille font is 22 or 23 font size to match the standard braille size; bold is often preferred. (Bold is not an option in GoodNotes.) However, my experience in the GoodNotes app is that 31 font size appears to match the standard braille size. To confirm the desired size, hold up the print page on regular paper (not the capsule page) and a braille page (from an embosser or Perkins Brailler) and compare the braille sizes. When I used the 23 size font on my ink jet printer, the tactile graphics machine did not raise the braille dots enough to read and the dots were very close together. In GoodNotes, I created one page with an image of a square and the word “square” in braille in four different font sizes: 23 font size, 27, 29, and 31. The first time through the PIAF machine the square shape raised easily, but the braille dots did not. After several times through the machine, the braille dots ranged from good tactile dots (31 font size) to almost non-existent tactile dots (23 font size). This is in part because of the ink jet printer – laser printers work best with a tactile graphic machine.
Attached is the Font Size Comparison page for you to try.
By Diane Brauner